Taking Precedence

We’re moving. That’s right, the offices of Security Products magazine and several other company publications are moving from their current location just down the street. Our new offices are much nicer, they seem to fit the staff better and, best of all, we’ll be using multiple security measures to keep us safe.

The old offices weren’t safe at all. There were five entrances, none of which was locked during the day. If a co-worker felt he had to work late into the evening, I worried for his security.

We’ve had some help in securing our new location. First of all, our access points to the offices are now limited to three, and they will remain locked all day, every day. We’ve installed three locks provided by Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies. They are King Cobras and—what makes them perfect for our office or staff— there are no keys to lose, hide or forget. A simple numerical code gets a worker through the door. We’ll also be able to add, delete or change user codes in just seconds.

Most users can install these locks in a minute using only a screwdriver. Knowing me, I probably would not be so fortunate. Luckily at our new office, installation was quick and easy. Now, getting into the office will be safe and secure, and the only thing to remember is the access code.

Our new surroundings also include a small foyer area where visitors wait until someone inside approves access—and all the while they will be under the surveillance of a Panasonic network camera. The video signals captured by the progressive CCD will be converted into JPEG or MPEG-4 streams and can be monitored at up to 30 fps. The technology also has audio captured by the built-in microphone using a PC over the network.

We're also installing an AXIS 212 PTZ network camera. It's a great new product that provides full overview and instant zoom, yet uses no moving parts. This camera is perfect for indoor video surveillance. Along with this system, we're installing the AXIS camera station, which is comprehensive video management software for monitoring, recording and event management.

Perhaps the only thing missing from our corporate security plan is employee ID badges. But in an office the size of ours, maybe they’re not necessary. If an employee doesn’t recognize someone in our office area, that person likely doesn’t belong there in the first place. ID badges are, however, a necessary security element in the security scheme of things.

ID badges create a safe and secure environment in all types of settings. For instance, at Crisp County High School in Cordelle, Ga., students have taken ownership for the safety of the school, according to Principal Toriano Gilbert. Last year, the high school established its Declarations of Beliefs and Visions. The document states that “Safety takes precedence over all else.”

“A safe environment must be provided for every student and employee,” Gilbert said. “The high school is constantly taking every step to make sure that it provides a safe and orderly learning environment.”

The school district has implemented an identification policy on campus in order to maintain a safe and secure environment. The policy is quite simple: All persons are required to wear ID badges at all times while on campus. This means all teachers and all students must wear their ID badges in a highly visible way. The district includes 1,133 students and 110 staff members.

One significant reason the school adopted this policy is because of its proximity to Interstate 75. Access to the school is easy, and badging students and teachers alike ensures that those who belong on campus will recognize anyone who shouldn’t be there. So far, the program is running smoothly. When students forget their ID—which happens an average of 10 times each day—they aren’t sent home, but to the office where they can buy a $2 badge, which is good for only one day. Replacement badges cost $5, plus $1 for a new lanyard.

Getting the ID program up and running wasn’t difficult. Assistant principals Fredrick Richard and Hubert Adams helped establish the policy after visiting other area schools that already had instituted similar programs. The school even included some students in the research process, giving them the opportunity to take part in creating a safe campus.

Adams said the first thing school officials have in mind is the safety of the students. With an increased focus on school violence, many schools are turning to personal identification to ensure the safety and security of students and staff. Many feel that a simple photo ID is only a small concession in order to keep everyone safe. Gilbert said the students have accepted the responsibility of the ID program, which also has brought out a new sense of pride in being a Crisp County High School Cougar.

Richard said when he sees a badge dangling from a student, he knows that student is one of his, and it helps. This is perhaps the most obvious benefit, but ID badges provide many other positive side effects. They are inexpensive, decrease disciplinary problems within the school because of easy and accurate identification, and make it possible for everyone in the school to address each other personally. Also, ID badges with magnetic stripes or bar codes can be used to monitor attendance, purchase school lunches, check out library materials or grant access to restricted areas.

The bottom line always seems to be the most important part of any initiative. Security at Crisp County High School has increased. The principal points directly to the campus-wide ID policy, but I’m pointing at the principal and his assistants. They know security is a necessary program, and they want their students to focus on learning, not the alternatives.

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