School Security Expert Offers 6 Steps for Secure Campuses

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Patrick Fiel, former security chief for Washington, D.C. schools and now an expert for ADT Security Services, offers the following list of six steps school administrators can use to help make their schools and students more safe and secure.

  • Make security a top priority.  Pay attention to the best practices, policies and procedures in place on other campuses. Ask for a school risk assessment from an experienced, reputable security provider. There are many solutions available that can help make a significant contribution to campus security.
  • Look for ways to finance school security measures. Unfortunately, properly securing a campus is not inexpensive, and it may require reallocating budgets to include security. Some grants are available, with Web sites for the federal Department of Education and your own state’s department of education a great place to begin your search. Most will list grants and provide information about how to obtain them.
  • Building strong relationships with your local law enforcement officials is a critical step in securing campuses. If your school does not have a regularly assigned officer for each campus, ask the supervisors at the local police or sheriff’s department to make assignments. Work with the officers to help familiarize staff and students with the appropriate emergency and security drills.
  • Encourage parents to get involved in their children’s safety. Help them to promote an open environment in which their children feel comfortable talking about their fears and can learn how to resolve conflict without violence. Parents can be a tremendous force in lobbying legislators for additional funding for schools and campus security. Remind them to make sure that if firearms are present in the home that they should be properly locked and stored.
  • Involve students in taking a proactive approach to their own safety. Students are very aware of what happens on their campuses. One option is to create a hotline that students can call anonymously to report suspicious activities.
  • Know exactly who is visiting the school. Have all visitors check into the office and show identification. There are visitor management systems that tie directly into computers at the federal Department of Justice that can quickly identify sex offenders and others with criminal records.

While targeting the list for school administrators, Fiel encourages the involvement of the entire education community in school security, including teachers, staff, parents, students and law enforcement. He also stresses that school solutions and well-planned security procedures can save money by helping to reduce incidents in and around the campus.

ADT Security Services, provider of electronic security services to commercial, government and residential customers, currently works with more than 15,000 schools and universities across the country on safety and security.

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