From the mouth of a director of safety and security at a U.S. school district

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09/11/2019

I just completed an article about perimeter school security, “The undogging debacle: perimeter security in a school environment,” in which I had the opportunity to speak with a director of safety and security for a school district, who also has a 14-year background at the local police department, most recently of which was supervisor for the School Resource Officer Unit. He told me something that really opened my eyes and I think that all security professionals involved in the school security niche need to hear. 

Here’s the question I asked: “If you could pick only one security measure that all school environments must have, what would that be and why?” 

The response: “If you limit me to just one security measure, I would have to say it would be hiring the right people, and training them properly in school safety and security,” Mike Johnson, director of safety and security at Rock Hill Schools, said.  

Read that again … limited to ONE security measure, he relies on people, but not just any people, though, trained people, not equipment or services. 

“The people we have in critical places, from administrators and teachers to support staff, are the biggest asset and the strongest point of any safety and security program,” Johnson continued. “Without quality people who are versed in safety and security, we would have nothing.”

Of course, without equipment or services, school security would be impossible in our modern day of school shootings, cyber-attacks, physical breaches, etc.; however, the key to it all is training. Equipment and service users, the people, must be properly trained to use the equipment and services to effectively and efficiently achieve their security goals. Any school could have the latest and greatest security equipment and services deployed, but if it’s not being used properly or even at all, then, really, what’s the point? 

“All the best products in the world are worthless if you don’t have the right people, who are properly trained, using them,” Johnson said. 

So, security professionals, I ask you, “Who is responsible for this training?” I would hope that every security professional, whether an integrator, consultant, sales person, manufacturer, etc., answered with, “I am responsible.” 

I would love to hear your feedback! Please comment here, over on Twitter @SSN_Ginger or email me directly