Once an active shooter situation is underway, there is little anyone can do to diffuse the situation before injuries, and possibly deaths, occur. Unfortunately, the Aurora Police Department has firsthand knowledge of such a scenario.

Alarm Detection Systems (ADS) wants to make sure Aurora police officers have tools that can help protect them if an incident occurs like the one they faced on Feb. 15, 2019, at the Henry Pratt Company at 401 S. Highland Ave. on Aurora’s West side.

Aurora police dispatchers began receiving reports of an active shooter at 1:24 p.m. on that winter afternoon. The shooter, a Pratt employee, already had killed five of his coworkers and injured another. Next, he turned his fire on officers. Five of six injured officers sustained gunshot wounds, but all survived. The gunman did not.

“After the Pratt shooting, Alarm Detection Systems approached us and asked how they could help the Aurora Police Department,” said Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman. “Rather than donating money, they wanted to provide something tangible to us — something we could use in our operations.”

Ziman said the department’s Special Response Team (SRT) is an “elite force of highly trained officers who respond to high-risk incidents and often withstand the elements for long periods of time.” The temperature was 17 degrees at the time of the Pratt shooting.

“While officers are well equipped to do their jobs, they were lacking some basic cold weather gear that had continued to move down the priority list,” Ziman said. “Thanks to ADS, they are now outfitted with gear that will allow them to weather the frigid temperatures.” 

ADS is providing 24 tactical jackets to the department.

“And because technology is continuing to advance in the policing industry – a concept ADS intimately understands – they purchased a throw robot for us,” Ziman said. “This will allow our SRT team to deploy technology to assess a situation before putting our team members in harm’s way.”

The facility where the shooting occurred is a 29,000 square foot manufacturing warehouse. It took police 90 minutes to painstakingly search the warehouse before they located and became engaged in a gun battle with the shooter.

“Both of these contributions from ADS are a wonderful example of public/private partnerships in our community and we are grateful to ADS for their generosity and their willingness to support law enforcement and the city of Aurora,” Ziman added.

The throwable robot, a scouting and surveillance tool for law enforcement and military personnel, provides situational awareness in unknown and potentially dangerous environments. The device was demonstrated in an event at Alarm Detection Systems’ headquarters in Aurora on Wednesday, July 10.

“Having a brother in the Aurora Police Department makes the ongoing issue of safer response particularly close to home,” said ADS Executive John Spooner. “We are proud to be part of a solution.”

“As a community-based business with more than 50 years of history in Aurora, it was the company’s honor to donate to the police department,” said ADS Owner Bob Bonifas.