Do We Use Token Efforts to Screen Visitors?

People who are alert are an indispensible part of any campus security program.

One thing I learned while being trained by law enforcement, military, intelligence, prison and court officials in Israel was that the sometimes incredible security successes in preventing terrorist attacks have often resulted from alertness by security people as well as ordinary Israeli citizens. They know how to assess, screen and evaluate others as they come and go from potential target sites such as government buildings, schools, malls and religious sites.

While the Israeli strategy is quite broad and comprehensive, there is a steady focus on how people are screened for signs of danger. Though high tech security equipment such as security cameras, metal detectors and access control technologies are heavily utilized and are an indispensible part of the approach to securing Israel, people make up the primary pillar of the protective mechanisms that country.

While the Israeli approach to security is tailored to fit the State of Israel and would not fit well as a drop-in strategy for the United States for a variety of reasons, there are important lessons about harmonizing our human security strategies with our security technology strategies. 

For example, no matter how effective and robust our visitor management technology solutions for K-12 schools are, they all can be defeated by an intelligent and bold aggressor if the school employee who conducts or oversees the screening is not alert. Someone can use a stolen driver’s license to sign in with an automated visitor management system if we do not notice that they are not the same person as the individual depicted on the identification card. Another common example involves staff who automatically buzz in anyone who wants to come into a school without any verbal and visual screening process when a good quality access control system has been installed that allows for it.

Brief, polite and professional screening processes should be developed and implemented to supplement the benefits that security policies, procedures and equipment can provide. While you may not need the intense scrutiny that is utilized for visitors at CIA headquarters, a practical and viable screening process can be developed for campus organizations.

Related Articles:



If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

About the Author


Michael Dorn serves as the Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a global non profit campus safety center. During his 30 year campus safety career, Michael has served as a university police officer, corporal, sergeant and lieutenant. He served as a school system police chief for ten years before being appointed the lead expert for the nation's largest state government K-20 school safety center. The author of 25 books on school safety, his work has taken him to Central America, Mexico, Canada, Europe, Asia, South Africa and the Middle East. Michael welcomes comments, questions or requests for clarification at Note: The views expressed by guest bloggers and contributors are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Campus Safety magazine.

Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century

This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety Conference promo