Page 12 - Campus Security & Life Safety, November/December 2018
P. 12

Smaller Texas school sees vision of providing secure environment BOy Ralph C. Jensen
ne of the smallest schools in Nacogdoches County, Texas, or all of Texas for that mat- ter, has taken their campus security to a new level by
making security personal. Martinsville ISD (MISD), or the Fighting Pirates as they are known, have installed door barricades at each classroom door.
It is a high-tech device? Not really, but boy it works to keep out a potential intruder. The campus security solution is called, RhinoWare and it is a door barricade system that touts simple and effective deployment. It is pretty simple, and MISD is among the first campuses to install it. As the manufacturer says, “It is easy enough for a 5-year-old to deploy.”
Here is how the device works: a steel plate is firmly attached to the inside bottom of the classroom door, another plate is attached to the floor, so the steel plates line up. With a kick, or a tap, a heavy metal piece attached to the door falls into the heavy locking device on the floor. This one-touch activation makes the solution an effective barricade, placed in just seconds in the event of a campus-wide lockdown.
Campus security is nothing new for MISD. Despite being a small school district with about 400 students, the Fighting Pirates spent thousands of dollars on a new server, cameras and entry revisions two years ago. They also spent an estimated $1,200 on a drone for overhead surveillance and emer- gency drill training.
“I believe we’re a very progressive school district when it comes to campus security,” said Zach Crawford, principal of MISD High School and Junior High School. “Every door is secured. Every building can be locked via a smartphone app. Our goal has been to keep students safe and stay ahead of the game.”
Martinsville ISD has 410 students ranging from pre-K to seniors in high school. The dis- trict has found creative ways to pay for secu- rity solutions. For example, a fall festival a couple years ago raked in enough money to purchase the RhinoWare door solution. The aforementioned drone was purchased for after-action exercises so the administration could monitor how drills and exercises were accomplished. The drone also became an important part of the security solution given the fact the district is surrounded by a thick forest, it was easier for administration and
campus security to get eyes on the grounds in the midst of a drill.
“Simplicity of installation and use, com- bined with high-force resistance has made this barricade system one of the most effective solutions available,” said Ed Johnson, CEO of Campus Safety Products, LLC. “The product also has created a lot of interest from the cor- porate sector, law enforcement and the armed forces. Ease of activation provides a calm and subtle solution to otherwise traumatic events, and provides visual reassurance to those using it in the campus setting.”
In addition to the door barricade solution, MISD deployed 27 Avigilon IP cameras and a monitoring solution that allows campus offi- cials to check in on the entire campus. Administrators are able to monitor the video feeds on their smartphones and can use the same solution to lock down the campus, or access a speaker system to alert staff and stu- dents if a lockdown is warranted.
The MISD administration and school board have taken another new step this year by hiring a full time Chief of Police, Steve Gil- crease, who had previously served with the Nachadoches, Texas, police department in
various capacities. While MISD might be the smallest school on record to have its own campus police department, it merely shows their commitment to security on campus.
Gilcrease, a native of Martinsville, takes over duties on campus after a 23-year law enforcement career. He said the school has great students and teachers, all are willing and anxious to enhance safety and security. His short-term goal is to ensure that all teachers make sure their classroom doors are locked during class time.
Currently the chief is monitoring social media sites and is working to contract with Social Sentinel where social media and key words are monitored and tagged.
“We do take security seriously at MISD, and we plan various drills throughout the year, and have teaching and training sessions with the teachers to better understand safety and security procedures,” Gilcrease said. “We’ve tried to find every opportunity to teach and train staff. You can never be too safe on campus.”
Ralph C. Jensen is the editor-in-chief of Campus Security & Life Safety magazine.

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