PNNL device can quickly alert law during school shootings

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RICHLAND — A small device developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland could make the difference between life and death for some when a shooter opens fire in a public place.

Chief engineer Jim Skorpik says the idea came up after the Sandy Hook school shootings in 2012 that left 20 children and six adults dead.

Skorpik knew that PNNL had already developed a small, battery-operated sensor system for the military. He thought it could be adapted to notify authorities within seconds of an active shooter situation.

The Tri-City Herald reports PNNL came up with software that can detect gunshots room-by-room.

The device can fit in the palm of a hand. But it has a miniature computer sophisticated enough to assess whether a loud sound is a gunshot.