NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut company said Friday it has nearly finished installing state-of-the-art security equipment at a school to which students were moved after the deadly Newtown school shooting.
Thomas Marino Jr.'s father owns Advanced Security Technologies in Stratford, which provides security services to Newtown High School and was told to remotely lock down buildings on Dec. 14, the day of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"It was hard for us to realize what was happening," Marino said. In an effort to provide some peace of mind to Sandy Hook students, staff and parents, he decided to reach out to about a dozen security manufacturers and ask whether they'd donate equipment if his father's company contributed the labor to install it at the new school in Monroe.
"Nobody said no," he said.
Marino said he has since collected hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of equipment and other services. It's been enough to outfit the Monroe school with technology ranging from an intrusion detection system to a panic alarm, as well as to fully equip Newtown's five other schools.
"There has been an enormous outpouring of donations to beef up security," said Newtown Board of Education member Richard Gaines, calling Marino's effort to coordinate everything "incredibly generous."
Marino estimates the security upgrades at just the Monroe school are worth $113,000. He expects the upgrades at the other schools could be worth about the same amount.
"I feel obligated to try to do the best we can," he said, adding how no security system is foolproof. "I think if you can save a few lives, it's worth it."
The Newtown Board of Education voted Thursday to accept 30 real-time security cameras, the final step at the Monroe school. They are expected to be installed by the end of next week, Marino said.
Twenty first-graders and six educators died in the Newtown shooting.