Maine Scrutinizes Security Measures in Wake of Attacks
- By Sydny Shepard
- Dec 04, 2015
Maine’s State House in Augusta has metal detectors now. Portland City Hall and Cross Insurance Arena can now lock down in a matter of minutes in the event of an attack and teachers across the region could soon have “panic buttons” on their laptops that will have the police swarming in a matter of seconds.
These security measures, as well as many more, are being taken to protect public buildings in Maine in the event of a mass shooting, the Portland Press Herald reports. Officials have been reviewing security protocols in the wake of recent attacks in California and Colorado. These events of mass shooting have citizens and law enforcement on high alert.
The December shooting in San Bernardino, California, in which 14 people died is the 355th mass shooting this year, defined by whether four or more people were killed in an attack.
With more venues becoming the sites of these heinous incidents – including schools, churches, movie theaters and health clinics – action plans have become necessary among buildings open to the public.
Each one of these incidents, from Colorado, to California to Paris, provides a learning opportunity for law enforcement. They are able to study each event to glean any lessons.
The Capitol Police, which provides security for 50 state buildings in Augusta, including the State House, incorporates those lessons into its training. In the wake of the most recent mass shootings, the officials have put pressure on training in the event of multiple shooters.
The city of Portland has installed metal detectors at the Oxford Street homeless shelter and the General Assistance office on Lancaster Street, costing nearly $5,800.
While authorities are waiting for more security measures to be installed, such as security cameras and access control equipment, they have distributed a video from Homeland Security titled, “Run, Hide, Fight.” The video is created to teach staff how to react to an active shooter scenario. Informing people about how to protect themselves may be the most effective way of saving lives in the event of a shooting.
State buildings are not the only area of interest to security professionals. Three Portland –area school districts are working together to add “panic buttons” to teacher computers or phones. Some schools are planning to implement a new software, called Share911, that allows a teacher to alert others to a threat – from a medical emergency to a lock down situation.
The alert is first sent out to first responders and then spread to other teachers, staff and faculty of the school building. The system also works in reverse; law enforcement can have direct access to teachers to provide important information in the event of an emergency.
Perhaps the most important addition to Maine’s security measures is an emphasis on communication, specifically the Homeland Security mantra, “see something, say something.”
Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.