Colorado is home to Littleton Public Schools, a district with approximately 15,000 students spread across 13 elementary schools, four middle schools, three high schools, and several alternative programs, preschools, and charter schools. In 2013, a shooting occurred at one of its high schools.
To better prepare for potential threats, and after receiving funding, Littleton Public Schools decided to improve its security efforts. Guy Grace, security director at Littleton Public Schools, spearheaded the security initiative, using the tiered guidelines offered by Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) K-12 to make decisions about security technology improvements based on each school’s individual risk assessment and CPTED score. The new, district-wide security system oversees and coordinates security for 28 school and administrative buildings.
In May, to see the PASS guidelines in action, the PASS K-12 Steering Committee visited with Grace, who is also a PASS K-12 Steering Committee member. Step by step, he walked us through the ways that Littleton Public Schools has implemented the PASS Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools. As a result of the district’s efforts, it has earned a reputation for having one of the best safety and security protocols of any school district in the country.
There’s no doubt that this district is making the best possible use of the free PASS guidelines; during our visit, Grace described the guidelines as “empowerment” for him and his team as they make security changes and improvements.
We got an inside look at Littleton Public Schools’ security operations center, where Grace and his staff can watch real-time video displayed across 16 screens. From any camera, the team can call up the view they desire at any time. They can also verify which building doors are locked (or unlocked), communicate with individual (or all) schools and law enforcement officials, view access control information, and initiate a lockdown. The information accessible in the security operations center can also be accessed by first responders and school staff on mobile devices.
We visited with school office staff, who showed us how building entry now requires an access control card, how video cameras help ensure that only authorized personnel enter, and how the mass notification system works.
Then, Grace took us to one of the district’s elementary schools, where a lockdown drill was conducted so we could see it in action. Because of the plans and protocols recommended by the PASS guidelines, there was no excess panic or stress placed on the children involved.
This visit was a testament to the difference that planning, preparation, and PASS guidelines can make when it comes to school security. To learn more, visit www.passk12.org.
And if you’re attending SIA GovSummit 2017, Grace will join other panelists in “Securing America’s K-12 Schools” on June 28. Don’t miss it! -Chuck Wilson, NSCA Executive Director