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Should More Campus Security Officers Be Using Tablets?

Here are some ways tablets might improve your campus security operations.

People working in a variety of occupations have started using tablets to help them do their jobs, including some city police officers, doctors and teachers.

Tablets can streamline processes, improve communication and give people immediate access to troves of information.

But the vast majority of hospital and university security departments have not equipped their officers with the technology. Is this a case of the security industry being behind the curve or are there really not enough benefits to justify an investment?

It turns out there are quite a few benefits to using tablets, so we put together a list of the biggest ones. Enjoy!

1. Making Reports Easier
One of the most important (and time consuming) parts of a security officer’s job is writing incident reports. Claremont Colleges Director of Campus Safety Stan Skipworth, who equipped his officers with small-scale tablets recently, says the devices make filing reports a more efficient process.

“Now we don’t have an officer go back to the office and sit down to write a report,” Skipworth says. “They can stay out in the field and sit down in a campus courtyard or something and log in to make a quick report.”

Skipworth added that the new process greatly improves officer visibility, keeping them immediately available for anyone seeking assistance.

RELATED: How Hospital Security Officers Differ from School and University Officers

2. Improving Documentation
Mobile technology isn’t only for selfies. Tablets can allow officers to take photos or videos of hazardous situations, such as exposed wires or a crumbling wall, and send them to people like facilities managers for repair. Developing threats can also be documented and immediately sent to emergency personnel in multiple departments. These images can be extremely helpful for crafting specific responses and for later investigations.

3. Referencing Information
The benefits of being able to pull up any policy or procedure quickly are obvious. Officers are also sometimes asked for things like building hours and directions. Being able to pull up an interactive campus map and walk visitors through things can save everyone time.

“Something important to mention is that all of these devices are encrypted and well-protected,” Skipworth adds. “But they’re still easy for officers to access.”

4. Sending Notifications
Radios can be used for many of the most basic communication and commands during an emergency, but consider the value of being able to send a text or email alert to the entire community from anywhere on campus. Communicating with specific people can also be easier with tablets.

You wouldn’t want officers to become overly dependent on tablets, and things like WiFi connectivity need to be considered, but there are obviously multiple use cases for officers with tablets on campuses.

Whether or not they’d be worth the investment, however, is something security directors will have to decide for themselves.

Read Next: School Security Technology: The Emperor’s New Clothes?

About the Author

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Zach Winn is a journalist living in the Boston area. He was previously a reporter for Wicked Local and graduated from Keene State College in 2014, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and minoring in political science.

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