Smart Security Planning: Your Key to Administration Support

Here’s how you can make the case for more resources for public safety, security and technology.

3. Facilities (External Only)

  • Camera coverage (adequate? all units functional?)
  • Roads/pathways between buildings (patrol adequate?)
  • Perimeter fencing around the campus (exist? Unbroken?)
  • Landscape on campus (free from obstructions?)
  • Problem areas near campus?
  • Interior windows allow surveillance?
  • Ability to lock down building
  • Convex mirrors allow full interior surveillance
  • Paint: ability to remove graffiti easily
  • Exterior boundary obstacles (man-made, natural)
  • Wooded areas where visibility is obscured
  • Dangerous intersections
  • Roadway visibility
  • Debris (including cigarette butts)
  • Speeding on campus (speed bumps, adequate signage)
  • HAZMAT located on campus (signage, precautionary procedures, response training)
  • Shelter in place locations (adequate and identified?)

4. Equipment Availability

  • Lighting (numbers adequate? all units functional? turned on throughout the night? Bright enough? Exists on “informal” paths?)
  • External call boxes (dispersion throughout campus? functional?)
  • Cameras (adequate coverage? good working order? need to be reoriented?)
  • Locks and keys (controlled?)
  • Signage (on boundaries [no trespass], speed limits)
  • Valuable equipment identified, secured and registered?)

5. Communications

  • Dispatch 24/7 availability
  • Radio coverage (clear? reliable? no dead spots?)
  • Alert notifications disseminated (promptly? relevant information?)
  • PA system (in all locations? functional?)
  • Full range of notification capabilities (exist? practiced?)

The third step is to create a matrix with the outputs on the horizontal and inputs along the vertical and then determine which inputs are germane to each output. The resulting matrix, with check marks indicating which inputs affect each of your priority outputs, will allow you to determine priorities for funding support.

For instance, the presence of emergency callboxes affects each of the five outputs (mission goals) identified above, so it would receive a score of 5 and qualify as a priority input. Camera coverage affects four of the five outputs (but not liaison with local police agencies) so it would receive a score of four. This analysis allows you to see which inputs have the most effect upon achieving your department’s security goals. Furthermore, it provides a handy visual aid in your efforts to get funding for your agency since it relates what you need to your ability to achieve the goals endorsed by your institution.

The fourth step is to take this matrix and identify which inputs are inadequate for achieving the desired outputs. The Relationship between Problems with Capabilities and Mission Accomplishment Goals chart below shows the results of an actual campus assessment. In this chart, problem inputs are arrayed against each output, and the sum of inadequate inputs for each output is listed at the bottom of each column. Although the categorization of mission capability is somewhat subjective, the resulting stoplight chart is a powerful one page summary that provides an overview of the status of campus security.  As noted above, it also helps an agency to determine which areas and assets merit priority attention.

security planning chart

The final step in the mission-based analysis is to identify corrective actions, categorized as either no/low cost or those requiring resources. It is crucial that the offices (e.g., police, facilities, IT) responsible for implementing these actions are identified.

Analysis Method Must be Thorough
There are scores of security analysis methodologies in use in the military, businesses and the public sector. These plans, if thorough, will consider:

  • What are the agency’s mission priorities?
  • What is the nature of the threat?
  • Which assets require priority protection?
  • Which inputs are available to achieve each mission?
  • Which inputs have the greatest effect on the greatest number of priority outputs?
  • What are the priorities of corrective actions?

However an agency elects to implement its security responsibilities, it must plan, then work hard to implement it and finally reevaluate security on a periodic basis to account for the dynamic security environment.

Lt. John Weinstein, a District Commander with northern Virginia Community College’s Police Department, is certified by Virginia’s Department of Criminal Justice Services as a firearms instructor and he is his department’s lead firearms instructor. He also conducts firearms training at two local police academies. Weinstein has numerous firearms training materials that are available upon request.

This article was originally published in 2015. Photo ThinkStock.

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About the Author


Dr. and Lt. John Weinstein retired as a senior police commander at one of the country’s largest institutions of higher education where, in addition to other responsibilities, he directed officer and college-wide active incident response training and community outreach. He is a popular national and international speaker and is widely published on many institutional and municipal law enforcement matters. Weinstein also consults with Dusseau-Solutions on active incident and all-hazard topics involving schools, churches, businesses and other public venues.

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