The Importance of a School Security Standard: A Q&A With Danor Services’ Bob Ordan

One of SIA’s top advocacy priorities and an issue area that impacts nearly all of us to some degree is that of school safety and security. It’s important to promote a safe learning environment for every student and protect the teachers, staff and visitors in our schools, and SIA appreciates the many talented security professionals who are working diligently each day to enhance the safety and security of our schools and mitigate active shooter threats.  

In this Q&A, SIA spoke with Bob Ordan, CPP, president of Danor Services and a longtime security industry professional with a passion for school security, about his career in the security industry, challenges schools face in protecting against threats and his vision for the future of school security.  

What is your background in the security industry, and how did you come to be involved in school security specifically?

Bob Ordan, CPP, president of Danor Services
Bob Ordan, CPP, president of Danor Services

Bob Ordan: My introduction to the security industry started as an alarm systems installer working for myself, and after a few years I was hired as an assistant director of safety and security at Brooklyn College.  After several years, I applied to the state of New York for a private investigator’s license, and the license was approved. I formed my company, providing consulting and other security-related services to schools, houses of worship and other commercial accounts. Most of my work involved schools. I conducted assessments and wrote specifications for many different types of security systems.

What do you think are the biggest challenges in addressing security threats in schools?

BO: As a Certified Protection Professional, I was surprised to observe the discrepancy between fire safety and security safety in schools. As it relates to fire safety, there are extensive codes and requirements. There is almost nothing up for discussion regarding fire safety. I fully understand that. What surprised me is that there are almost no codes or requirements for security standards. Everything is “best practices” and voluntary compliance.

A school does not have to have a public address system to announce emergencies. A school does not have to install a surveillance system. Access control, ballistic glazing, locks on classroom doors – in almost every case, this is all voluntary.

What are your thoughts on the concept of a school security standard? Do you think there is a need for a national standard on school security?

BO: Political buy-in is needed now. Congress must champion this agenda. I believe that a well-thought-through “security code” can be one of the greatest ways to safeguard the country and its citizens.

A school should have to meet a security code. Perimeter doors should be included in an access control system. There should be a separate entrance for visitors. A school should have a well-trained security person or persons on staff. An emergency notification system should be in place. Entrance door glazing should meet certain requirements. The Sandy Hook shooter got to the locked school entrance door and shot the glass panel and entered the school and killed 20 children and 6 staff members. Perhaps a security code that required a more secure perimeter would have saved many lives. Locks on classroom doors that can be electronically activated in a lockdown are available today. Nothing is mandated by code when it relates to security.

I think groups like SIA and ASIS International can accomplish for security what the National Fire Protection Association has accomplished for fire safety. Its time for our profession to meet the challenge and champion the creation of a security code, state by state.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts and/or profiles/Q&As are those of the authors or sources and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Security Industry Association.