Schools look into security system used by NYPD

July 09, 2008 at 9:56 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

A security system used by 80 percent of the cruise line industry that can also be found in Air Force bases and the New York Police Department, might find its way into the St. Charles Parish School System.

Integrated Access Systems presented their visitor management system to members of the School Board’s Capital Improvement Committee last week. The system is easy to use and only requires that the receptionist on duty scan a driver’s license or take a quick photo in order to issue a visitor a pass. That pass is printed within seconds and has a picture of the visitor, the day’s date and the location that the visitor is going to inside the school.

More importantly, while the visitor is waiting for the pass to be issued, their name and information is checked against a list of people that the school may not want inside, such as terminated employees or parents that have restraining orders issued against them. The information is also checked externally against a national sexual predator offender watch list.

“The person that uses this system does not have to have a law enforcement or military background, but is usually a receptionist that has multiple tasks that they are doing at the front desk,” Jonathan Fox, of IAS, said. “Because of that, this is very easy to use.”

If the person trying to get inside the school is on a list of undesirables, the receptionist clicks a green check and a whole chain of events occurs.

“Emails are sent and cell phones, desk tops and PDAs get that information,” Fox said. “With that information, emergency personnel know which school the person is at and what they look like. It sends the right information to the right people at the right time.”

The badges can also be extended for a certain amount of time for people that regularly enter and exit a school, such as vendors and contractors. These people can get a plastic card that has a bar code so that they can be identified continually.

The system could also reduce the problems between parents who share custody of their children. When a card is swiped, it will show the student’s name plus the faces of people who are allowed to pick them up from school. Parents that share custody will show up on the list with the days that they are allowed to pick up their child.

“The bottom line is that fast pass is a frontline deterrent that eliminates the opportunity for someone to act on their ideas proactively while still keeping your school in an open environment,” Fox said.

The visitor management system is just one part of a comprehensive security program offered by IAS. The company also offers physical security threat assessment, technical vulnerability and risk evaluations, biometric and smart card solutions, and email security and data loss prevention.
Pete Ochinko, president of IAS, formulated the security plan using his years of experience in the Secret Service.

“If you don’t have a measure of control over the people that are coming on to your campus, then you can’t have an expectation of security,” Ochinko said.

After installing the program, Ochinko says his company then puts together a comprehensive training program for the faculty and staff.

“One of the things that impressed me the most is that the training program can be done online and it’s not very time consuming,” School Board member Stephen Crovetto said. “Everyone should be involved with security of the schools and everyone should know that they’re involved.”

Ochinko says that getting everyone on board is the most important thing that can be done to help prevent security breaches.

“We’re not trying to teach people how to be school resource officers, but when you get everybody on the same page, great things happen,” Ochinko said.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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