Virginia School District Implements Tyco’s School Security Solutions
Fairfax County Public Schools worked with Tyco Integrated Security to improve access control, video surveillance alarm systems and more.
Recent school shootings throughout the country have shed light on the need for innovative, effective school security measures to help prevent future mass tragedies. Understanding this important need, school officials in Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) – the 10th-largest school system in the United States, serving more than 186,000 students – reviewed its own safety protocols and determined the need for updated, state-of-the-art security and safety practices.
To implement new security measures, FCPS worked with Tyco Integrated Security (TycoIS) to develop a unique, integrated plan to ensure that its students and employees would be as safe and secure as possible. Working together, TycoIS and FCPS deployed the new security system on time and in some cases early, but most importantly before school started in September 2014. The undertaking garnered TycoIS Integrated Installation of the Year runner-up notice.
Design Unifies 220 Facilities
TycoIS has been FCPS’ integrator for a number of years, but the significant growth in the partnership began four years ago. Since then, TycoIS has provided enterprise-level integrated security to the district’s 22 high schools and a couple hundred school facilities.
In order to meet the complex need to integrate all FCPS’ new and existing security solutions into one unified system for 220 facilities throughout the district, TycoIS assigned a team to help support FCPS and act as a liaison between individual schools and the county administration. This was a significant change to FCPS’ systems and processes as school security was previously handled by the individual facility rather than by countywide mandate.
“TycoIS worked with its manufacturers to design a solution to meet our complex needs by compiling various components of commercial devices, ensuring that the new system did not just rely on video surveillance,” says Jim McLain, FCPS security coordinator. “Additionally, due to the serious need for continuous monitoring and access control, TycoIS and FCPS implemented a system of preordering replacement parts, so maintenance can happen in real-time.”
Highlights of the integrated security system include: Implementation of countywide door-access technology that allows administrators to monitor and regulate access to school buildings; installation of an integrated video surveillance system including 1,300 cameras that can be accessed in real-time by personnel onsite and remotely; and new DMP alarm system panels.
Project Part of Larger Partnership
In addition to seamlessly installing a significant number of video surveillance cameras, assigning an exclusive customer team to the 220 facilities and implementing a real-time maintenance program, TycoIS helped implement best practices for the FCPS security monitoring team, who review countywide incidents in real-time from a central monitoring station. TycoIS also regularly trains FCPS officials and staff on each new technology as it is implemented and installed.
TycoIS works with the district’s security team implementing security testing and simulation, so FCPS is prepared for internal and external threats to ensure students and staff are safe and secure. Working together, FCPS and TycoIS have developed a unique and lasting partnership in securing all 220 district facilities through one integrated security program.
FCPS and TycoIS have developed procedures for all the day-to-day security needs, as well as the proactive steps that keep the school system safe in the long term. Furthermore, the two organizations work hand-in-hand for all future security planning, with a TycoIS representative attending school district planning meetings. Additionally, TycoIS has worked with FCPS to present all future security plans to parents and staff of the school district, so that there was universal buy-in and a greater peace of mind surrounding the schools’ security.
“FCPS’ security and executive team are pleased with and appreciative of the smooth transition to its integrated security system, and more importantly, that TycoIS was able to deliver the comprehensive system under budget and on time,” says Vice President of Marketing Hank Monaco. “By implementing countywide security solutions and procedures, TycoIS has helped FCPS expertly handle day-to-day security issues and prepare staff and facilities for the possibility of a serious security threat in the future. Moreover, it has provided peace of mind to students, staff, parents and community.”
Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Campus Safety Magazine’s sister publication Security Sales & Integration, directing all editorial aspects of the magazine brand in print, electronically, online and in person. The voluminous, innovative and award-winning body of work he has distinguished himself with since joining the publication in 1998 includes groundbreaking research, landmark features, leadership roundtables, high profile case studies, and many industry exclusives.