Missed opportunities that can increase school security

As schools open their doors here in Polk County, parents send little ones to school depending on the administration and faculty to keep their children safe.  Likewise, administration and faculty walk into school every morning relying on the security protocols in a school to keep them safe. Whether or not each campus is safe becomes the responsibility of school officials and any onsite law enforcement.  Here are some commonly missed items that can increase the security of a school:

Reception area

The administration in the front office plays a very important role in our schools.  Along with paperwork, answering phone calls, and directing internal foot traffic, these people are often the first line of defense.  They determine whether it is safe to allow a person into the school.  They must quickly assess an individual based on a quick look and approve or deny entry.  Do they have the necessary equipment to alert law enforcement if an erratic person shows up?  Often, a simple panic button will be installed to notify police when pushed.  The panic button gives very little information to law enforcement.  Adding an audio sensor and a camera to turn on with the panic button will allow central station operators to see and hear instead of just sending law enforcement in blindly.  Important details like any weapons, multiple people, and location within the school, will give law enforcement an advantage when responding to an erratic person.

Exterior Doors

Many schools have an access system to lock down the exterior doors.  Entry is gained using a programmed badge or granted at the front door by an authorized individual.  But if the access system is not used properly, an access system can be bypassed.  Exterior doors should never be propped open. A properly built system will notify authorized individual of the propped door so it can be properly secured.  Also, if there is a situation that is already occurring inside a building, these access systems should be able to be unlock all exterior doors to allow law enforcement entry.

A WORKING camera system

While may schools have camera systems, the system may not be working as intended.  Having a way to notify the proper people if a camera is extremely important.  Health monitoring should be added to the system.  This monitoring will send an email to notified the authorized individual, that a component of the camera system has stopped working.  Also, putting a policy in place to get the system fixed immediately will prevent an embarrassing situation if camera footage is necessary but not available.  Law enforcement should be able to access the camera system offsite in an extreme situation so the can formulate a plan quickly and secure the situation.

Active shooter alertsschool security

While everyone has a cell phone, sometimes loud noises like a car back firing or something being smashed through a window can sound like a gunshot and trigger a false active shooter response.  With a true gunshot detection device, activation only happens when the concussive force of a gunshot is detected.  When this device is activated, an audio detector and a camera turn on so central station operators can relay the details to law enforcement.  If school officials have given law enforcement permission to view the cameras, they can also assess the situation to plan accordingly.

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