Commentary

Panic in the Air

Every time I hear or read about a shooting on campus, I naively think this will be the last one. It never is the last shooting, because, I suppose, there are some people bent on inflicting pain on someone else.

There is, however, a way to mitigate and prepare for an active shooter. There are several security consultants in the industry that have first-hand knowledge of what works best to keep these types of people out of a school. It should be noted, though, that if a shooter has that much determination, they will likely try to fulfill their path of destruction.

I know two consultants who I lean on when it comes to campus security. First, there is Charlie Howell, president and CEO of Division 28. Howell is located in San Antonio, and when it comes to security, he has a wealth of knowledge.

The key to student, faculty, staff and visitor safety and security on a campus depends upon a security plan, Howell says. One of the most important topics in the security plan is policies that blend security into the organizational structure, while providing an achievable goal. The key component for doing something to provide security to students, faculty and staff is the ability to lock down a campus, or at least lock the campus buildings within 60 seconds.

The author of our cover story in this issue, Patrick Fiel, is an independent security consultant assisting Argus Protective School Solutions. Fiel spent many years as the chief of police in the Washington, D.C. schools.

Fiel’s thoughts are crystal clear: when an emergency strikes, seconds count.

He writes that K-12 administrators, teachers and staff need a rapid connection to first responders. They need that capability from virtually any part of a campus.

Both security consultants agree; one of the first decisions involving any security system is setting a protocol for its use. Once this has been set, it is important to work with school staff to make sure they understand how and when any given system works.

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

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