State Rep. Mike Mueller and his family join Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for a bill-signing ceremony at the governor’s residence. In back, from left, are Mueller’s son Cole (17), wife Angela, son Ryan (20), and Mueller. Not pictured: Mueller’s son Owen (15) and daughter Olivia (13).
New law promotes use of critical incident mapping to help responding officers
A new law spearheaded by Rep. Mike Mueller of Linden has the potential to save lives by helping police officers respond more effectively to active shooter situations and other emergencies in schools.
The plan relies on critical incident mapping to greatly improve the information available to first responders when they arrive at a school during an emergency. Critical incident mapping is a tool also utilized by the military that utilizes satellite imaging to create a real-life depiction of a building and the area surrounding it, including labels of importance. A grid is then placed over the map to help police, fire and EMS responders articulate location.
“Clear communication during an emergency saves lives,” said Mueller, a retired sheriff’s deputy, tactical operator, and veteran. “When first responders have access to a critical incident map as soon as they arrive on scene, they are able to share vital information with each other quickly and more efficiently.”
Since 2000, Michigan school districts have been required to share information with law enforcement in their community to help police respond to incidents on school grounds. This includes building plans, blueprints, or site plans for each school building. Mueller’s plan, House Bill 6042, gives schools the option to submit critical incident mapping data instead.
“I have served on SWAT teams in the past, and I know how chaotic it can be when you respond to a critical incident. It’s even more hectic when you’re not familiar with the area,” Mueller said. “If I respond and I locate an active shooter in the school library, telling others to respond to the library is only effective if they are familiar with the layout of the school. When all responders have access to a digital critical incident map, I can communicate to others that I’m in the library on square H4 of the grid and everyone can quickly identify the location, even if they have never stepped foot in the school before.”
Earlier this year, Mueller successfully advocated to make grant funding available to schools for critical incident mapping. A supplemental budget measure signed into law on June 9 included $12.5 million in grant funding for schools to obtain the maps.
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