Evidence-Based Protection Programs Work Best

By using data to drive your efforts, you can navigate the tricky lanes of campus safety more effectively.

While we learn something worthwhile on every assessment we conduct, we were truly astounded at one of our findings on a recent project for a large school district in Illinois. The talented and highly data driven security director has implemented a number of very effective programs following his own assessment work after he was hired a few years back. 

By focusing on evidence based and other approaches with a proven track record, a number of problematic situations have decreased in frequency in his district. He has also developed a 20 minute live annual update training program focused on how people can perform core emergency functions more effectively under stress that he personally presents to every school based employee in the district. Now in its third year, it is clear that people are retaining a significant amount of the content he teaches and are able to apply it under stressful conditions. 

Our analysts conducted hundreds of simulations with several dozens of employees in 20 schools and scored the responses from each crisis simulation. The simulations utilize custom realistic school crisis scenarios filmed in schools and utilize scoring tools customized to reflect the districts crisis plans. Though we have not finished tabulating all the results, we are clearly seeing superior responses compared to other districts we have evaluated this way. These include some of the largest school districts in the nation and districts that have spent far more money and have longer emergency preparedness training programs for staff.

The results provide clear evidence that the director’s data driven approach to safety is paying off and that the return on the investment of their 20 minute training program is nothing short of remarkable. 

As the district—like many around the state and our nation—faces severe budget challenges, its data-driven approach is nothing short of penny wise and pound brilliant.

Use data to drive your safety efforts properly, and you can navigate the tricky lanes of campus safety more effectively.

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 [email protected]. 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 HQ