School security measures continue to be a critical need, due to the increasing number of school threats and shootings. The collaboration between school leaders and law enforcement is essential to ensure an appropriate and adequate level of school security in all K-12, as well as campus, environments.
In our last blog we discussed the two critical roles that every school system should implement to coordinate school security policies and procedures. The School Security Coordinator and School District Security Coordinator need to also collaborate with School Security Liaison Officers and School Resource Officers to ensure an appropriate and adequate level of school security.
School Security Liaison Officer
The local law enforcement department should designate a School Security Liaison Officer to their local school district. This person is charged with supervising the School Resource Officers (SROs) and could be a full-time or adjunct responsibility. They will coordinate with District School Security Coordinator and possibly individual School Security Coordinators. The following responsibilities of the School Security Liaison Officer should be identified and assigned.
• Participate in monthly school district/law enforcement working meetings
• Participate in quarterly or semi-annual school district/law enforcement management meetings
• Assist with school security tabletop exercises
• Work with School Security Coordinators to verify functional effectiveness of first responder two-way radios
• Help coordinate the use of drug sniffing dogs in schools when needed
• Help coordinate school’s Active Shooter drills, and other safety training
• Work to ensure the ability to stream school security video to law enforcement.
• Interact with School Security Coordinators to ensure the availability of School Emergency Lockers – train officers in the use of breeching tools (SWAT).
• Encourage uniformed officers to conduct school familiarization tours and walk-throughs.
Collaboration between school leaders and local law enforcement is key to a successful school security program. This includes, but is not limited to, the following activities:
• Schools should provide Tactical Floor Plans to their local law enforcement agency – including basic room names and numbers and the location of video surveillance cameras – printed and electronic version – available in patrol vehicles.
• Particularly for first responders, classroom numbers should be on both the inside and corridor side of classroom doors and on exterior windows.
• Security-focused tabletop exercises – a meeting that discusses simulated emergencies, trains and brings together key officials to ensure staff is properly prepared to respond to emergencies should be conducted.
• To benefit tactical response, law enforcement should have the ability to review school video surveillance cameras on a real-time basis at police headquarters, their communications center and from patrol vehicles.
• Each school should have an emergency supply locker available to local law enforcement – school keys, heavy duty bolt cutters, breeching tools, school floor plans, trauma kit with medical supplies.
• Provide first responders electronic access credentials capable of override for perimeter electronic access-controlled doors that will allow them to gain entrance to the school in the event of a school lockdown.
• Schools should have a comprehensive security assessment (Environmental-Physical-Electronic-Procedural) conducted of their facilities, preferably by a Certified Security Assessment Specialist, every 2-3 years.
• Recommended security assessments should provide the path for school security improvements and upgrades.
• These recommended school security assessments are frequently conducted by local law enforcement personnel.
• School leadership and local law enforcement officials should both participate in Incident Command System (ICS) training and exercises, providing them a means of centralizing and coordinating their collective emergency response actions.
• School leadership and law enforcement officials should actively participate in monthly school security working meetings.
• School leadership and law enforcement officials should actively participate in quarterly or semi-annual school security management meetings.
• School leadership and law enforcement officials should work together to ensure the accomplishment of Active Assailant (Active Shooter) drills.
• School leadership and law enforcement officials should work collaboratively to provide School Resource Officers (SROs) for schools.
As a means of facilitating school security-related cooperation and communication between the local law enforcement agency and district schools, it is recommended there should be a monthly working meeting.
The topics to be addressed in the proposed monthly working meetings could be:
• School violence-related issues
• Gang and drug activity
• Trends in school related crime
• Off-campus youth-related crime
• School bullying problems
• School-related weapons issues
Those who should attend this regular scheduled monthly meeting may include:
• School District Security Coordinator
• School Security Liaison Officer
• Law enforcement Crime Prevention Specialists
• School Resource Officer(s)
• Criminal Investigators
In addition, a regularly scheduled meeting between school district leadership and the Sheriff or Chief of Police and senior command personnel should be held on a quarterly or semi-annual basis.
The topics that may be addressed at these proposed meetings could be:
• School violence and/or weapons-related issues
• Crime trends and drug activity
• SRO-related issues
• Programs like “See Something, Say Something”
• School district / law enforcement district coordination and cooperation
• Conduct of lockdown and emergency evacuation drills
• Bullying prevention programs
• Physical and electronic security for schools
Those who should attend these regularly scheduled leadership meetings may include:
• School Superintendent and/or Assistance Superintendent
• Local Chief Law Enforcement Official and/or Command
• School District Security Coordinator
• School Security Liaison Officer
• Local government officials
• PTA/PTO representative(s)
Presented Live Virtually
May 23-24, 2023
You can learn more about vital school security issues and additional school security topics in the American Crime Prevention Institute’s upcoming School Security Assessment Certification Seminar to be presented live virtually on May 23-24, 2023.
This unique, unprecedented training program has been developed in collaboration with knowledgeable school architects, experienced and certified school security consultants, and certified crime prevention specialists.
This program will be of unparalleled value to anyone responsible for the conduct of school security assessments or surveys.
To learn more about the School Security Assessment Certification Seminar to be presented live virtually in May, click here.
ACPI is a worldwide leader in enabling law enforcement agencies, businesses, institutions, and security professionals to reduce criminal activity and risk and enhance quality of life through the delivery of practical, unbiased training and certification programs. Visit our website at acpionline.com to learn about our comprehensive list of both live virtual and self-paced training courses.