Education

 

 

https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/An-Education-Connection.aspxAn Education ConnectionGP0|#cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8;L0|#0cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8|Physical Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a43444652017-09-01T04:00:00Zhttps://adminsm.asisonline.org/pages/holly-gilbert-stowell.aspx, Holly Gilbert Stowell<p>​With a staff of more than 2,000 people and an annual operating budget of $360 million, Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services (Eastern Suffolk BOCES) provides a variety of support for K-12 schools in Long Island, New York.  </p><p>“It could be things such as the schools’ IT support; we can host their computers and their servers; we can help out with test grading and professional development for their staff,” says Ryan Ruf, associate superintendent for management services at Eastern Suffolk BOCES. “And there are dozens and dozens of other services that we provide to public schools.” There are 51 school districts, called component districts, that the organization serves. </p><p>Located in 37 different buildings that Eastern Suffolk BOCES either rents or owns, the organization puts a priority on security to protect the wealth of sensitive student and school information that it houses. </p><p>“Since the safety and security of our students and staff are our number one priority, we have the responsibility to deploy proven integrated security technology systems to achieve this goal,” Ruf explains, noting the organization has turned to several vendors to make up a network of cameras, access control, and visitor management systems to maintain security.</p><p>“There are hundreds of cameras installed throughout our locations that are available on a platform where we can view them remotely,” Ruf notes. Most cameras are from Axis, and the video management system is by IP Video.  </p><p>Access control is another priority for the organization, says Ruf, who notes the growing number of active shooters in educational environments. “Not that many years ago, most school buildings on Long Island, in New York state, and throughout the country were open—parents could walk through the front door, drop off a lunch for their kids, and leave,” he explains. </p><p>But now that the situation has changed, Ruf says Eastern Suffolk BOCES is staying on top of the security threat, with the ability to lock down buildings remotely and control which staff members have access to which buildings. </p><p>“When you’re a big agency such as ourselves, and you have daily transactions with staff coming and going….you need to have the ability to control that,” he says. This includes shutting off access for an employee who no longer needs it or going through the proper protocols when someone resigns, he adds. </p><p>Eastern Suffolk BOCES also uses a visitor management platform from Raptor Technologies, which allows front desk employees to quickly process anyone wishing to gain access to the building by running their state-issued identification. Eastern Suffolk BOCES also built security vestibules in its lobbies, holding areas of sorts, where visitors must wait while their IDs are being processed.</p><p>“Raptor does a background check, and cross-references the ID with the sex offender list. It also records certain key information for us in case we needed to find out who was in our building at any particular time,” Ruf says. If everything checks out, a temporary ID is generated for the visitor. </p><p>A+ Technology & Security Solutions, Inc., is the integrator that installed and manages those security platforms for the organization, and monitors their health to perform any repairs that may be needed. “That way, if an incident does occur, things are working well soon after,” Ruf says. “We don't necessarily have the people power to walk around and check everything out every few hours and make sure everything is operational.” </p><p>While the technologies it has installed greatly improve its security posture, Eastern Suffolk BOCES took its ability to handle serious threats like active shooter to the next level when it signed up for a pilot program with A+ Technology and the local police department. Since December 2016, it has given Eastern Suffolk County Police headquarters access to its surveillance cameras in an emergency. </p><p>To connect its cameras to police headquarters, Eastern Suffolk BOCES built a fiber optic cable network that can be tapped into should other school districts want to leverage the same fiber in the future. </p><p>“With this new Ethernet line, we would be able to just route those individual component districts back to Suffolk County Police,” Ruf says, “and we view that as the next step in this program.” </p><p>When an emergency call comes in—whether it’s for an active shooter or another type of threat—police can automatically pull up the camera feeds from the location where the incident is occurring. From there, law enforcement can direct first responders with real-time information based on what the camera shows. </p><p>Ruf notes that many of Eastern Suffolk BOCES’ buildings are large, and possibly difficult to navigate for someone who isn’t familiar with the layout. “This way, police already have an eye inside of our building that's talking to the [first responder], directing them to the northeast corner of the building, or the south of the campus,” he explains.</p><p>Eastern Suffolk BOCES is part of the larger pilot program in Suffolk County facilitated by A+ Technology. The technology company has worked with other schools and businesses to install “tens of thousands of cameras” that connect to police headquarters, according to David Antar, president of A+ Technology. </p><p>“The system leverages something called the C3fusion by IP Video Corporation, which takes many disparate sources of information and brings them back to a common operating picture at police headquarters,” says Antar. </p><p>With such a large stakeholder community, Ruf says Eastern Suffolk BOCES benefits tremendously from having a one-stop-shop for law enforcement to view its cameras. </p><p>“There are 51 component districts. We can’t have 51 different systems that police are looking at, it has to be one uniform system,” Ruf notes, “We think this A+ solution is the one that makes the most sense.” </p>

Education

 

 

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https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/School-Security-Trends.aspxSchool Security Trends<p>School security often involves response tools, from mass notification to surveillance to reporting. However, experts note that trends are moving away from technology as a single solution to prevention-based programs centered around information sharing, all-hazards training, and public-private partnerships.</p><p>Preventing a tragedy often starts with getting critical information into the right hands. </p><p>Take the case of two teens in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, who were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder in October 2015. The two had plans to phone in a bomb threat to their school, then shoot people as they evacuated, CNN reported. A school resource officer discovered that one of the boys had threatened violence on the Internet, and the resulting investigation uncovered the plot. </p><p>In December 2015, an anonymous tip was sent to a Denver school district’s “Text-a-Tip” threat reporting hotline. Based on that information, two 16-year-old girls were found with plans to commit a mass killing at Mountain Vista High School. They were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, reported Reuters. </p><p>These stories, and many like them, have a common thread throughout: critical information was reported and acted upon in a timely manner, stopping any plans to commit harm. While some security experts do not like to classify tragedies as preventable, they say there are key threat indicators that pointed to the mass shootings and other attacks before they occurred. If communities, schools, and law enforcement work together to identify and connect these dots, future threats could be stopped. </p><p><em>Security Management </em>speaks to experts about their experience conducting threat assessments in schools and communities. ​</p><h4>Connecting the Dots</h4><p>After the December 2012 Sandy Hook shooting that killed 20 elementary-age children and six educators, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy created a 16-member panel to review policies pertaining to school safety, gun-violence prevention, and mental health. The panel recommended in a 277-page report that all schools create safety committees that include police, first responders, administrators, and custodians. The report also urged each school to take an “all-hazards” approach to safety and security training for faculty, staff, and students. </p><p>Furthermore, the panel recommended that schools form threat assessment teams that “gather information from multiple sources in response to indications that a student, colleague, or other person’s behavior has raised alarms.” The report cites the U.S. Secret Service’s behavioral threat assessment model, which has been adopted for educational institutions, the workplace, and military settings. </p><p>“Once a team has identified someone who appears to be on a pathway to violence, the team ideally becomes a resource connecting the troubled child, adolescent, or adult to the help they need to address their underlying problems,” states the report, which goes on to say that such multidisciplinary teams can conduct risk assessments when questionable behaviors arise. “These would not only identify students at risk for committing violence, but also serve as a resource for children and families facing multiple stressors.” ​</p><h4>Partnerships</h4><p>As outlined in the Sandy Hook report, it is critical for organizations, schools, and communities to take an all-hazards approach to assessing and preparing for threats. If there is a dedicated platform or channel where they know they can report pertinent information, those dots can be connected in a meaningful way to prevent tragedy. </p><p>Two security experts share best practices with Security Management based on their experiences with threat assessments. These programs were bolstered by building partnerships with law enforcement and the community. </p><p>Working with stakeholders. Sometimes a threat assessment reveals an obvious problem that needs fixing, while other issues are uncovered only by working and communicating with stakeholders. Such was the case for school security professional Gary Sigrist, Jr., CEO and president at Safeguard Risk Solutions. </p><p>He tells Security Management that when he first started working at the South-Western City School district in Ohio, there were some obvious changes that needed to be made. “We had building principals who told their staff members they weren’t allowed to call 911 [in an emergency], that they have to call the office first,” he says. “We changed that.” </p><p>There was one building principal who told the cafeteria cooks that if there was a fire in the kitchen, not to pull the fire alarm until they had notified him first. “I brought the fire marshal in, and we had a conversation about that,” he notes. </p><p>Sigrist explains that working with law enforcement isn’t always a seamless process; sometimes schools and police in his district differed on their vision for a safe and secure environment. </p><p>“It’s not that the police were wrong, it’s just that some of their goals and objectives didn’t sync with the goals and objectives of the school,” according to Sigrist. But establishing regular meetings with law enforcement and other first responders was key to successful collaboration. “The police would say, ‘we think you should do this,’ and the school could say, ‘that’s not a bad idea, but let’s look at it from the point of view of the school,’” he notes. “Fire drills became better because we involved the fire department in the planning of our drills, where our command posts would be, and how we were going to check students in.” </p><p>He adds that first responder collaboration should go beyond just police and fire; schools rely on medical professionals when faced with health epidemics, for example. “When the Avian Flu and H1N1 sprang into effect, we worked with our county and state boards of health, and were able to develop a pandemic plan,” he says. “We had those subject matter experts.” </p><p>Over the course of his career at SouthWestern City Schools, Sigrist twice helped secure the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Grant, in 2008 and 2010, from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. These funds helped him establish many safety programs around the district. “Those are things people say, ‘wow, you must be a wonderful person to be able to get all of this done’–no, we had grant money,” he says. “It’s amazing what you can do with half a million dollars in grant money, and also the right support from the superintendents.” </p><p>No matter how prepared a school is for an emergency, those plans are truly put to the test when disaster strikes. Such was the case for South-Western City Schools when an explosion occurred at an elementary school. </p><p>“We had a building in a rural area, and the water table shifted, causing methane gas to build up in the basement. When it built up to a certain level with the right oxygen mix, there was an explosion,” Sigrist says. A custodian was injured, but everyone was able to evacuate the building safely as they had in many drills before. </p><p>The staff had been trained on how to function as a crisis team that was three members deep. Because the principal was not present at the time of the explosion, the building secretary assumed the role of incident commander, safely evacuating everyone from the building. “And it’s just evacuation training,” he says. “We never trained her on what to do when a building blew up.” </p><p>There were some key takeaways from the event that the district saw as areas of improvement. “Did we have lessons learned? Yes,” says Sigrist. “This happened almost right at dismissal, and we had school buses parked right in front of the building. Well–they didn’t move.” </p><p>These buses prevented fire trucks and other emergency vehicles from pulling right up to the scene. “And so one of our lessons learned is, if you have an incident, how are the buses going to pull out of the parking lot so the fire equipment can get in?” </p><p>Hometown security. Schools are a major focal point of the community, but they are not the only one. Societies are also made up of private businesses whose security is paramount to the overall environment of safety. Marianna Perry, CPP, a security consultant with Loss Prevention and Safety Management, LLC, explains that because about 85 percent of critical infrastructure in the United States is privately owned, “it makes sense that these businesses and communities partner with law enforcement to address problems.”  </p><p>Perry has more than 20 years of experience in conducting threat assessments for private businesses, as well as communities, including school districts. She recounts examples of how these reviews helped strengthen those localities, businesses, and law enforcement alike. </p><p>While Perry was the director of the National Crime Prevention Institute, there was a particular community with high crime rates, homelessness, and drug problems, as well as health-related issues. “There were abandoned properties, rental properties in disrepair, homes that had been foreclosed,” she says. “We were looking for a solution to help fix this community.” </p><p>Perry helped form a team of key stake­­holders and partners, including law en­forcement, a local university, security consultants, area churches, and the local health department. The public housing authority was also a major partner, as well as some local residents and business representatives. Initially, everyone came together for a week-long training program. The goal was to involve all partners in helping to develop strategies to improve the overall condition of the neighborhood, which in turn would help prevent crime. She says that much of the training was centered on crime prevention through environmental de­sign (CPTED), which predicates that the immediate environment can be designed in such a way that it deters criminal activity.  </p><p>She adds that the training wasn’t just focused only on preventing crime, but on several aspects of the community. “The goal was to improve the overall quality of life for everyone who lived or worked in that neighborhood,” says Perry. </p><p>The training also helped the partners learn to speak a common language. “We had all of these different people from different professional backgrounds and business cultures, and we needed them all on the same page,” she says. “They needed to be able to communicate with each other.” </p><p>A critical outcome of the training program, she says, was facilitating interaction among stakeholders, as well as developing and building trust. “It was a really successful partnership, and a lot of good was done for that community because everyone worked together to achieve common goals.” </p><p>Businesses also benefit from such assessments. Perry recently conducted a security assessment for one organization that was located in an area with one of the highest violent crime rates in the city. “Management was very concerned about the safety of their employees,” she notes. </p><p>During the assessment, Perry recommended that the company install additional cameras on the perimeter of their property for added surveillance and employee safety. The company could also share camera footage with law enforcement by tying their camera system into the citywide surveillance program. Perry worked with a local vendor to install IP cameras to cover a 10-block area. A control center operator would then monitor the cameras, and if he or she saw suspicious activity, either a security officer would be dispatched to respond, or 911 would be called. “I think people are now embracing the concept of public-private partnerships because they’re beginning to realize that they work,” Perry says.</p><p>Training. Preventing and detecting threats, while challenging, is possible when stakeholders share critical information. Having a centralized place for reporting such information is key, as well as training students, employees, and the community on how to use those platforms. </p><p>However, if the threat remains unde­tected or cannot be stopped, organiza­tions should conduct all-hazards training that covers a range of possible scenarios to ensure minimal damage and loss of life, says Kenneth Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services. </p><p>“Active shooter is one concern, certainly, but it’s just that–one concern,” he says. “There’s a much greater likelihood that school employers are going to deal with a noncustodial parent issue multiple times during a school year than that they will ever deal­­—during their entire career working in the school—with an active shooter incident.” </p><p>Sigrist adds that having a laser-like focus on active shooter training can be a drawback for schools, because they lose sight of issues that have a greater likelihood of occurring. </p><p>“I asked one of my clients at a Head Start school how many times they have had a drunk parent show up to pick up a child, and they said, ‘it happens all the time,’” he says. “We still teach active shooter, but by teaching how to respond in an all-hazards approach, they will know how to take action.” </p>GP0|#cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8;L0|#0cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8|Physical Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a4344465
https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Private-School-Public-Protection.aspxPrivate School, Public Protection<p>​<span style="line-height:1.5em;">Until Sandy Hook, elementary schools seemed immune to the gun violence plaguing the nation. But after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012, the administrators of Harding Academy carefully studied the incident to determine how to better prepare for the unthinkable.</span></p><p>Harding Academy, located in the city of Searcy, Arkansas, is a private school instructing almost 700 students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The school is owned and operated by Harding University, which maintains an armed security force responsible for the safety and security of the academy.</p><p>Prior to December 2012, Harding Academy maintained an open campus, allowing parents and other visitors to access the building by obtaining a visitor pass from one of the administrative offices. Access was granted through unlocked main entrance doors; however, there were many times when visitors could gain access to the school through an unobserved door thanks to helpful students. There was video surveillance in some areas of the school, but the video was not actively monitored by administrative personnel. Nor was there a practical way for school staff to be alerted to an open or propped door. </p><p>Immediately after Sandy Hook, Harding Academy administrators met with security experts from the Harding University Department of Public Safety, which serves both the university and the academy, to review existing security measures at the school and to recommend needed changes. </p><p>Academy officials also surveyed all parents with children attending the school to gauge how its security was perceived and whether parents recognized the need for increased security. “The Sandy Hook incident hit a nerve of vulnerability with parents here, across the nation, and world,” says James Simmons, Harding Academy superintendent. </p><p>Faculty, staff, and parents agreed that security took precedence over open access to the school. Harding Academy officials and public safety personnel determined that changes were needed to better secure the facility. The dilemma was finding a balance between an open, inviting feel to the campus and properly securing the facility.</p><p>Key to securing the facility was implementing the security principles of deter, detect, and delay. Harding Academy needed a level of security that would deter wrongdoers from attempting harm. If a person was intent on harm, then a method to detect the person before he or she breached the facility was crucial. Finally, realizing that completely denying entrance to a determined intruder was impractical, the last layer of perimeter defense would be designed to delay entrance to the school long enough for first responders to arrive.</p><p>To properly evaluate the security needs at Harding Academy, public safety personnel conducted a risk analysis survey. The survey sought to identify the risk to the facility and its occupants, assess the impact of the risk were it to occur, prioritize the risk according to implementation costs as well as the impact of the event, and lead to the creation of a risk mitigation plan based on the highest-priority risks.</p><p>The goal was to find the most cost-effective solution that would provide the highest level of security possible. For example, bullet-resistant glass was found to be a poor choice because the delay it would provide was minimal and the glass was expensive. Reinforced glass was cheaper and provided similar amounts of time for responders to arrive on scene. </p><p>A proposal was drafted, and public safety and academy administrators met with Harding University’s president to determine what measures were appropriate to ensure that the school was inviting, yet safe. The proposed measures were prioritized according to greatest impact on securing the facility while being fiscally responsible. The goal was to mitigate the most realistic threats or threats that would have the greatest impact—not to get caught up in the minutiae of “what ifs.” </p><p>The group chose seven of the recommendations: installing more video surveillance cameras, updating the intercom system, adding handheld radios for academy administrators, installing networked access control, replacing door hardware, installing reinforced glass at entrances, and placing panic buttons in administrative offices.</p><p>The key factors of the security upgrades at Harding Academy were effectiveness, ease of use, and comprehensiveness. Each piece of the layered security approach was carefully considered using those key factors. The system was designed with the knowledge that in an active shooter situation, every second counts. The upgrades were designed to provide instant notification of an emergency in the building and provide responders with valuable time.​</p><h4>Implementation</h4><p>The improvements made to Harding Academy’s physical security were implemented over a two-year period. They were designed in a layered approach to provide physical security from the exterior of the building to the classrooms. </p><p>Surveillance. The first phase of the project included the installation of additional video surveillance cameras. Cameras were added to all of the entrance points to the buildings and in many of the hallways. The academy added six Honeywell analog cameras that were compatible with its existing Nuvico DVR system, increasing its number of cameras from 10 to 16.</p><p>The video system is networked over the existing IT system, providing instant visual imaging of the school to both Harding Academy personnel and to the public safety office. Personnel are able to quickly assess exterior door alarms via the video cameras to determine the source of the alarm as administrators are sent to the area. This enables school personnel to ensure that the building remains secure and that any breach of security is dealt with quickly.</p><p>The academy plans to add additional cameras soon and transition its analog cameras to a digital networked system from Milestone, which is used on the university campus and can be integrated into the school’s access control system.</p><p>Access control. Before beginning the two-year improvement process, the academy did not have an access control system for the building. Instead, mechanical locks were used. To harden the facility, the academy decided to switch to a networked access control system that allows academy administrators to have complete control over access, eliminating old keys that may have been unaccounted for.</p><p>The new access control system includes networked access control at main entrance points and video intercom systems at the main entrance doors. The access control installed in the school building is part of the Open Options DNA Fusion platform. The system is networked, allowing both the public safety office and Harding Academy administrators to see and control the exterior doors to the building. </p><p>Proximity card readers were placed beside most of the main doors. School faculty and staff, as well as public safety and maintenance staff, can now use these cards to access the building. The remaining exterior doors were wired with alarm monitor contact points. This allows Harding Academy and public safety officials to be instantly notified of unauthorized access to these doors or of doors propped open. </p><p>The system was chosen because it was already in use at Harding University and had a track record of reliable, effective service. Also, Harding personnel had been trained to install and program the equipment themselves, resulting in substantial cost savings.</p><p>Tied into the networked access control system are video intercom stations at each of the main entrance doors. The intercom system has dramatically changed the way that parents and other visitors are granted access to the school. The entrances to the building remain locked at all times, and visitors are allowed in only after identifying themselves and the purpose for their visit through the video intercom system. </p><p>School employees can then look for any type of threat before releasing the magnetically controlled lock on the entrance door to let the visitor enter. Once inside, the visitor is immediately directed to the office where he or she is instructed to sign in and obtain a visitor badge before proceeding into the school.</p><p>Target hardening. The school installed several target-hardening devices including push-button locks for classroom doors, panic alarms in the administrative offices, a schoolwide emergency annunciator system, and reinforced glass at the main entrances to the building. </p><p>The reinforced glass at the main entrances does not have bullet-resistant properties, but it does deter and delay intruders intent on gaining access to the school. It also adds valuable seconds of response time for public safety and local law enforcement.</p><p>The key locks on classroom doors were replaced with push-button locking mechanisms. The new devices allow teachers to quickly lock classroom doors from inside the classroom, eliminating the need go into the hallway to secure the door. This is both a time-saving measure, designed to allow for quick and efficient lockdown, as well as a safety measure—teachers no longer need to venture into potentially dangerous situations.</p><p>Panic alarm buttons were placed in all administrative offices. The buttons are tied into the access control system, allowing public safety officers to receive an immediate alarm notification if the buttons are pressed. The panic alarms were installed to allow officers to respond quickly without alerting the intruder in the room that help would be coming. Using a silent alarm could also assist in the de-escalation of tense encounters between administrators and upset, or even violent, visitors in the administrative offices. </p><p>As the final security improvement, a schoolwide annunciator system was installed in the building. Harding personnel knew that the ability to communicate an emergency message schoolwide was an important feature of emergency management for the school.</p><p> Prior to the installation of the annunciator, the school used an intercom system, but the high school and elementary sides were separate from each other. Therefore, there was no ability to speak to the entire school at one time. The annunciator system allows for simultaneous broadcast to the entire building.</p><p>Various methods of communication, such as intercom systems, were considered, but the vendor that Harding University used for its fire alarm systems proposed the solution: a Notifier First Command NFC-50/100 system tied into the Notifier fire alarm system. </p><p>The annunciator uses the fire system speakers to broadcast prerecorded messages in case of an emergency. With the touch of a single button from any of the administrative offices at Harding Academy, administrative personnel can instantly notify the entire school of an emergency. Outside speakers were also installed so children on the playground or visitors coming to the school can be notified immediately of an emergency and can follow the proper protocols. </p><p>In addition to the one-touch buttons for prerecorded messages, the Notifier First Command NFC-50/100 System allows a person to speak through a microphone to give more specific information about an emergency or to provide further instructions.</p><p>Communication. Additionally, Harding Academy officials were provided with two-way radios, which enable them to communicate directly with the Harding University Department of Public Safety during an emergency, such as a school lockdown. Public safety officials ordered radios identical to the ones carried by public safety personnel to ensure that communication is reliable. The radios are used daily for internal communication among Harding Academy administrators for routine matters. </p><p>The radios are also programmed with a channel that allows direct communication with the Harding University Department of Public Safety for emergency situations. This allows public safety officers responding to an emergency scene to obtain as much information as possible before arriving at the site. Additionally, it allows for coordination and better information flow once public safety officers arrive. </p><p>Harding Academy officials were also concerned about accountability in the event of an emergency, such as a tornado or building lockdown. The solution was a simple one: a Google document shared with all faculty. </p><p>The document can be used to convey information to administrative officials to account for all children in the classroom, as well as any other children who were in the hallway and are now sheltered in each particular room. Information regarding the condition of each person in the classroom, such as any medical issues associated with the emergency, can also be conveyed via the Google document.</p><p>The Google document solution allows for simultaneous accountability from all areas of the school. This also replaces the need for the separate intercom systems on the high school and elementary sides of the school for accountability purposes.</p><p>In addition, teachers can now communicate with administrators over the Internet, which saves secretarial personnel from checking in with classrooms individually over the intercom system. It also allows office personnel to remain in a safe place, instead of tied to the intercom system in the main offices.​</p><h4>Testing </h4><p>The emergency management plan for the school was thoroughly evaluated, and several adjustments were made in accordance with the physical security improvements to Harding Academy. Quick reference flip charts were placed in each classroom to provide specific instructions to follow in the event of various types of emergency situations. </p><p>The academy and the university routinely conduct drills and exercises. Harding Academy administrators use the Notifier First Command NFC-50/100 System to activate drills. Public safety officers are present at the drills to ensure appropriate response. </p><p>The panic buttons in the administrative offices have been tested regularly to ensure that they are functioning properly and that an alarm is being triggered in the public safety office. School officials routinely monitor and respond to open or propped doors to ensure that the facility is secured. Video surveillance is also monitored for building security. </p><p>As part of the testing, training for all faculty and staff at Harding Academy was conducted to ensure familiarity with emergency procedures and policies. In addition, Harding University public safety officers presented specific information on what to do in case of an active shooter. </p><p>Furthermore, a survey of all parents was conducted at the end of the two-year period to gauge parent satisfaction with the numerous security improvements that were made at Harding Academy. Parents noted the many positive measures that were taken to increase the security of their children, Simmons says, adding that parents “feel very confident about and appreciative of our efforts.”</p><h4>Training</h4><p>Three key training pieces were introduced at Harding Academy. First, Harding Academy administrators and public safety professionals revised the school’s lockdown policies and procedures to make them applicable to the new physical security improvements. </p><p>For instance, the addition of networked access control allows school administrators or public safety to lock down all of the exterior doors to the building with the click of one button. This relieves school administrators from the burden of locking exterior doors manually.</p><p>Additionally, the annunciator system allows for simultaneous notification of a lockdown of the entire building, alleviating the need for administrators to make separate announcements on the high school and elementary sides. The two-way radios also come into play by allowing academy administrators to speak not only with each other, but also with public safety responders.</p><p>Drills were then conducted quarterly to ensure that the entire school population understood their roles and responsibilities during a lockdown. The drills also tested the new physical security improvements to make sure they were properly used in an emergency. Students, faculty, and staff responded favorably to the drills, recognizing the importance of preparedness. </p><p>The second training piece, introduced by public safety professionals, was in-service training for all faculty and staff at Harding Academy using the Run.Hide.Fight. concept developed by the City of Houston in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This training was designed to allow faculty and staff to quickly analyze a situation and make the best decision possible for their classroom about evacuating or sheltering in place. Physical security improvements were key to the “hide” portion of the training, allowing teachers to better protect their classrooms while first responders were en route to the scene.</p><p>The final piece of training was a continuation of live active shooter simulated response training that was previously conducted by the Harding University Department of Public Safety. Public safety officers were equipped with protective gear and simulation weapons that fired paint projectiles at simulated active shooters. </p><p>Hallway movement and room entry practice are conducted periodically to ensure that officer response is quick and efficient. Officers respond to various encounters at Harding Academy, using the entire building. This allows officers to be extremely familiar with the layout of the building, saving valuable time in the event of an actual incident. </p><p>Public safety officers conduct active shooter, armed intruder, and other incident-based scenario training at Harding Academy regularly. The training is conducted with simulation pistols, starter pistols, and blue guns—inoperable plastic replicas of weapons. </p><p>The responding officers practice quickly identifying the situation and responding rapidly and effectively to neutralize the threat to the school. Public safety officers also practice building searches to locate a threat in the event that shots are not currently being fired. This training, especially the building search training, allows officers to become intimately familiar with the layout of the building. It allows officers to know potential danger areas such as recessed corners and to identify ways to best respond to those areas.</p><p>Harding Academy personnel also work closely with public safety officials to ensure that the new physical security improvements, as well as the policy and procedure updates at the academy, provide a safe environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors. </p><p>--<br></p><p><em><strong>Kevin Davis, J.D., CPP</strong>, is the assistant director of public safety for Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. He is a member of the ASIS International School Safety and Security Council, A former vice chairman for the Arkansas Chapter, and a member of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.</em></p>GP0|#cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8;L0|#0cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8|Physical Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a4344465
https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/To-Ensure-A-Safe-Haven.aspxTo Ensure A Safe Haven<p>​<span style="line-height:1.5em;">When the 15-year-old access control system at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauder­dale (CCFL) in Florida began to fail, Senior Systems Administrator Benny Brown knew it was time for a change. Repairing and maintaining the current access control system in the eight buildings that make up the CCFL megachurch and the pre-K to 12th grade school was costing too much, and the system was so old that manufacturers said the new system would have to be designed from scratch.</span></p><p>“That opened the door for us to shop the whole market for access control products,” says Brown, who started looking for a new solution in May 2014.</p><p>CCFL wanted to move beyond a network-based system to a Web-based portal for programming and management, as well as to find something that could take advantage of the extensive network structure across the sprawling 75-acre campus. </p><p>“Our campuses use Macs, PCs, and even Linux, and compatibility with client applications is always a little bit of a concern,” Brown says. “Having the management be Web-based alleviated a little bit of that.”</p><p>Brown also wanted to find a solution that would help CCFL maintain its open-campus feel for both students and parishioners. About 2,500 students attend the school, 20,000 worshippers come to services on the weekends, and 1,000 faculty and staff keep the operations running. “We try to keep the campus open and inviting, we want people to come make use of the facilities and feel comfortable being here,” he notes. “During the school hours, we typically need to keep the areas where the kids are a little more locked down and strict.”</p><p>In 2013, Brown met a Viscount representative at the ASIS International Seminar and Exhibits in Chicago, and he reached out to him when it became clear that CCFL needed a new access control system. After working with Viscount, CCFL settled on purchasing the company’s Freedom platform, a server-based software application that communicates over IP. “It checked all the boxes for us,” Brown says. </p><p>Brown notes that the Viscount Freedom encryption bridges are compact and function through power over Ethernet. Since the application software is completely Web-based, Brown was able to set up multiple access groups and schedules—he can control the access of certain badgeholders throughout different parts of the campus at different times of the day. This flexibility is important on an open campus like CCFL.</p><p>“We need our schedules to be dynamic and have the ability to mark certain controlled areas and lock them at a particular time, and even have temporary unlocked periods within that schedule for certain areas, depending on whether the school is having a function where parents will be coming in,” Brown explains. </p><p>Viscount’s platform makes receiving real- time updates much easier and more consistent, he says. With CCFL’s old solution, each building’s system would have to be updated individually, which could take hours. </p><p>“A lot of times the log on our control panels didn’t get updated until that controller decided to communicate everything back across the network, or the controllers would just lose contact with the server,” Brown explains. </p><p>This was a problem when CCFL enabled or disabled a badge for access, because it took up to two hours for the changes to be pushed out to all of the control panels. </p><p>“The beauty with Viscount is their encryption bridges literally only act as a translator between the reader and the IP network, so their server makes all the decisions,” Brown says. “We make changes on the database in the server, and it’s instantaneous—we don’t need to worry about pushing that information out all over the campus.”</p><p>Brown says his team was able to install 60 Viscount Freedom encryption bridges on the new system by the start of 2015. He has set up 105 controlled areas throughout the campus and church on 31-week schedules to correspond with the school year, and about 1,625 cardholders are in the access control system. </p><p>Right now it’s mainly staff that use the badges, although Brown says he’d eventually like to extend their usage to students as well. Badges are also given out to vendors and contractors who come to the campus on a regular basis and have passed background checks. </p><p>The system was installed throughout both the school campus and the church, and Brown says it has less to do with letting people in than keeping unwanted criminals out in an emergency. The solution allows Brown, or anyone with enhanced credentials, to swipe their card and lock down every single door in a certain building or hallway, or even throughout the entire campus. </p><p>“It’s unique and allows you to be creative for whatever situation or policy your security team wants to implement,” Brown explains. “It’s very flexible, and you can pretty much tailor the access control system around what you need. I have controlled areas for each of our buildings, so I can lock each building in its entirety or conversely unlock each building from the management portal itself.”</p><p>Brown also says that the access control system comes in handy when there is a special event or after-hours gathering, because he can keep all but a few entrances secure to control the flow of visitors. And if a staff member needs access to a building after hours, he can unlock specific doors from an app on his mobile phone. </p><p>Overall, everyone who has been involved in the installation, management, and use of the Viscount Freedom platform has been pleased, Brown says. Compared to the old system, there is virtually no downtime. CCFL’s security team has quickly been able to learn the system, and can view constantly-updating access logs as well as control access points through the management portal.</p><p>Brown says he’s hoping to work with Viscount to take advantage of technology, such as QR codes or near field communication (NFC), which would enable staff, students, and visitors to use their smartphones to gain access to the campus. </p><p>“That would allow us to keep the schools locked a little more consistently during events, and we would have a better idea of who is on campus at any given time,” Brown notes. “We can pretty much limit access to parents, family members, and known volunteers without actually having to issue a badge. I’m looking forward to when they have that perfected.”    ​</p>GP0|#cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8;L0|#0cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8|Physical Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a4344465