Emergency Preparedness, Facility Security, Security Hardware and Technology

3 School Security Tech Upgrades to Consider

It’s that time of year again. Time to go back to school. Security professionals have been hard at work over the summer on many campuses to make their facilities even safer for all occupants using different types of technology.

Generally, campuses can include elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, boarding schools, colleges, and universities. Security professionals thinking of upgrading technology systems on their campuses should meet with their leadership team to determine which solutions might be right for their needs. Here are three types of tech upgrades to consider:

1. Access Control

Controlling access to and within a school campus is of utmost importance when providing security to it. To learn more about physical access control, read “Back to Basics: Increasing Security Through Strong Physical Access Control” on Total Security Advisor. The following are ways some school campuses have utilized access control:

  • Visitor Offender Check – Visitors are required to present a driver’s license upon entering buildings. The license is scanned, and the software instantly checks it against a national sex offender registry and the facility’s “deny access list” of occupants banned from the property. A visitor’s badge is printed instantly if the visitor passes the check.
  • High-Tech Weapons Detectors – High-tech weapons detection units allow the detection of not just metal but also any kind of weapon. Visitors can bring their bags through the unit, and if certain shapes are found, security would then have to inspect the bags for prohibited items. This is the same technology used by the NFL and other venues so that people can be quickly processed without security professionals needing to physically check every bag.  

2. Panic Alert Systems

Providing a way to clearly communicate with security and law enforcement professionals in the event of an emergency is very important. To learn more about emergency devices, read “Back to Basics: Comparing One-Way and Two-Way Emergency Communication Devices” on Total Security Advisor. Here are ways some school campuses are meeting those needs:

  • Panic Buttons – Staff members have a wearable panic button that they can activate in the event of an emergency. It can instantly contact onsite security, law enforcement, and/or emergency medical services. This technology, using its own wireless network, can activate a campus-wide lockdown, turn on hallway strobe lights, create computer desktop alerts, and activate a campus-wide alert on the public address system.
  • Smartphone Apps – Staff and students can download smartphone apps so that they can report incidents with onsite security or law enforcement, as well as share their location with friends to ensure they get to their destinations safely. These apps also often allow users to locate emergency blue light phones on-campus via an app, if applicable. Additionally, students and staff can receive notifications from security and law enforcement about emergencies on campus.

3. Surveillance

Having video cameras installed in educational settings can be a useful tool in keeping an eye on all areas of the campus simultaneously. However, the latest technology that some school campuses have implemented can make cameras even more helpful for security professionals. 

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) – AI cameras can automatically detect if it sees someone with a weapon, someone who falls, or other suspicious or concerning activities and contact on-site security and law enforcement.
  • Facial Recognition and License Plate Readers – Immediately detecting whether unauthorized individuals are on campus is important, and photos of faces of students and faculty can be uploaded so that when AI sees the face of someone unfamiliar, it can notify on-site security and law enforcement. Other campuses have decided to install license plate readers in parking lots to identify license information and notify officials if an unidentified vehicle enters the campus.

While educational institutions may not have the budget to install all of these forms of state-of-the-art technology, it is important to make small incremental steps to keep campuses more secure. In fact, some safety advocates have called on schools to install low-tech solutions, such as inside-locking doors, as effective means to help prevent active shooters.

Security professionals should meet with local law enforcement with advice on how to better protect their facilities based on a variety of unique factors regarding the campus.