MSU engineering faculty member’s DHS grant helps assess public space safety, protect civilians against threats

Contact: Camille Carskadon

STARKVILLE, Miss.—An industrial and systems engineering associate professor in Mississippi State’s Bagley College of Engineering has been awarded a U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant to make civilians and first responders safer during active shooter incidents.

Mohammad Marufuzzaman portrait
Mohammad Marufuzzaman (Submitted photo)

Mohammad Marufuzzaman, who serves as the MSU department’s graduate coordinator, is delving into the intricacies of individual behavior during public safety threats and developing tailored training and response strategies for first responders thanks to more than $118,000 in funding from DHS’s multi-institutional Security Science and Technology Center of Excellence—SENTRY (Soft target Engineering to Neutralize the Threat Reality)—led by Northeastern University. Project co-principal investigators include Associate Research Professor Daniel Carruth of MSU’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems and Lucas Cagle, a former MSU employee and current electrical and computer engineering doctoral student, along with research assistants Abdur Rahman and Mohamad Dehghan.

“Unfortunately, intentional attacks in public spaces have increased alarmingly over the past decade and raised a serious security concern in public safety; however, our knowledge base on attack detection and civilian response strategy under such violence is limited,” Marufuzzaman said. “Such a lack of understanding hinders the development of effective training modules, building assessments, response and mitigation strategies for both civilians and law enforcement officers in such events, which are highly unpredictable.”

At the culmination of this year-long project titled “Modeling and Behavior Analysis to Assess Public Space Safety and Protract Soft Targets Against Active Shooter Attacks,” Marufuzzaman and his team will introduce groundbreaking software for DHS and first responders to assess the risk in any indoor public workplace during an intentional attack. The software will allow users to simulate various scenarios, providing valuable insights to enhance safety in public spaces during an active shooter situation.

Additionally, the team will collaborate with the Starkville Police Department to ensure research components are of practical relevance and the project outcomes are readily implementable.

MSU’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering is online at www.ise.msstate.edu and can be found on Instagram and LinkedIn. The Bagley College of Engineering is online at www.bagley.msstate.edu and can be found on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and YouTube at @msuengineering.

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