Guy Grace and colleagues observe a school security monitoring center last month at Littleton Public Schools in Colorado.
While in Colorado recently, I had the opportunity to visit with Guy Grace, the director of security & emergency preparedness for Littleton Public Schools and a member of the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) Steering Committee.
Guy showed me and a few others, including fellow PASS Steering Committee members Chuck Wilson of the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) and Scott Lord of All Systems, how Littleton has implemented the PASS Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools and has earned a reputation for being one of the best school districts in the country for safety and security protocols. (PASS was cofounded by SIA and NSCA in 2014.)
We started in what is essentially the school district’s security operations center. Here, staff can watch video feeds displayed on a wall of 16 screens and view access control information for all facilities on desktop monitors. They can call up the view from any of countless cameras across the school district, check on what doors are locked or unlocked, communicate with schools and law enforcement and, if necessary, initiate a lockdown. All this information can also be accessed on mobile devices by first responders and school staff. (Guy appears to never go anywhere without his tablet.)
From there, we went to a nearby preschool, where children played behind a fence and entry into the building required an access control card. In the office, staff explained how video cameras help them to ensure that only authorized personnel are allowed entry. Staff then demonstrated the school’s mass notification system, playing recorded announcements that first stated that a test lockdown alert was about to follow, then sounded the actual alert. (This was not a lockdown drill, so staff and students took no action. Staff and students, though, are regularly trained in how to respond to security emergencies, just as they practice fire drills.)
Scott Lord, Guy Grace, Ron Hawkins and Chuck Wilson tour the school command center in May.
From the SOC to the school, it was an impressive display of how Littleton is using security technology and sound procedures to help keep children safe.
“The security components are fully integrated at each school,” Littleton Public Schools website states. “All of the schools’ systems comprise a seamless, districtwide networked security management system that is monitored twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. … The security system’s tracking, reporting, and camera-monitoring features give the district the ability to know what is happening around and in a school at any time, providing constant security awareness.”
Editor’s Note: Guy Grace of Littleton Public Schools and other school administators will discuss “Securing America’s K-12 Schools” during SIA GovSummit, June 28-29. For more info and to register, visit www.securityindustry.org/summit.