Security Technology is a Top Priority
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- October 01, 2019
Gary Christian has been in
law enforcement for 42
years, and he has never
had to fire his service
weapon. He wants to keep
it that way. After 32 years and a retirement as
a deputy chief of Detroit Police Department,
Christian has spent the past 10 years with
Detroit Public Schools, the largest school
district in Michigan.
There is no secret to his successes. He is,
however, sold on the idea that using the best
technology possible will assist in keeping
K-12 campuses secure. That security starts at
any given front entry. Detroit Public Schools
(DPS) has been using IPVideo’s ViewScan
for the past eight years with outstanding success.
Crime has been reduced by 37 percent
and even sharper declines in serious crime
by 61 percent.
ViewScan has been the cornerstone in
reducing campuses crime, including detecting
a firearm. This technology has been vitally
important for DPS as attendance has
increased, and the solution is less intrusive,
replacing the unwanted physical pat down by
staff if a weapon has been detected.
Making the Unknown, Known
Detroit schools have been faced with similar
security issues as other schools nationwide.
In the 2010-11 school year, a technology
push was put in place, particularly at the
high school level.
“DPS was facing heavy crime and various
types of weapons coming into school,” said
Rick Cadiz, the vice president of sales and
marketing at IPVideo Corp. “The school district
had been facing a situation where attendance
was down because kids were afraid to
go to school. Parents were concerned that
their children were being treated like criminals
and patting the student down. There
were also concerns about a delay in the
school day beginning as it was taking some
time to get students through security.”
Christian learned about ViewScan, and
quickly liked what he saw. His recommendation
to the school board was to deploy the
security solution, cutting throughput time
quickly. The process was faster as children
were screened quickly without cutting into
class time. Christian said that the school
then deployed the system as both a portable
solution and fixed units, including a custom
system that is built into the door frames.
Since the initial installation in 2011, 32
schools have been outfitted with ViewScan.
At this point, security within the district
took on a life of its own.
Finding Concealed Weapons
DPS began with the installation of the concealed
weapons detector walk-through portals,
which use advanced magnetics technology
to accurately pinpoint threat objects on a
visual image of the subject. An investment of
more than a half million dollars allowed for 60
portals to be installed. This also allows a
photo tag of every student entering the buildings
in a faster, more efficient procedure.
“It is simple for staff to work with this
security device,” Cadiz said. “This is a passive
technology, so anyone walking through it is
safe from electromagnetic radiation pulses.
The throughput can reach as many as 1,000
students per hour.”
The solution provides digital images of
not only the student but also the exact location
of a weapon or cell phone on that person.
An alarm will sound when an unwanted
item is located. Monitors or security staff are
able to pull that person aside and stop the
person who is carrying an unwanted item.
The Upgrades Continue
All new and renovated schools have received
an enhanced security entrance with security
office and monitors to display all school
cameras. All schools in the district will benefit
from an $18 million camera and alarm
upgrade. The upgrades are currently taking
place, and were in the works over the summer
months. The cameras, and the ViewScan
displays, also can be viewed at the Command
Center and from the school’s administration
area and principal’s office.
“Under this system, when there is an incident
or unwanted entry, cameras and alarms
will activate at the doors,” Christian said.
“The camera system will initiate and record the previous 15 seconds of activity to the
alarm. Cameras also activate at the Command
Center. Officers at the Command Center
then can activate video of all cameras at a
school to know the exact place to respond.”
IPVideo Corp. took control of the manufacturing,
sales and marketing of ViewScan
in 2018, and the most exciting part of the
security system is that they have been maintenance
free the past eight years.
“This security system is a game changer in
terms of school security,” Cadiz said. “DPS
has an enrollment of nearly 50,000 students,
and 106 schools, and close to 16,000 staff and
more than 3,000 teachers. Reliability and
security were at the top of mind when choosing
a system to protect everyone.”
Christian said that now, even eight or nine
years later, ViewScan remains a state of the
art security system. He said times have
changed in the security world and within the
education vertical. Schools and school security
staffs are looking for precautionary measures
to ensure a safe and secure school.
What it comes down to are guns and people.
“People know we have this security system
in place, so bringing a gun to school is
the last thing on someone’s mind, or at least
I hope that is the case,” Christian said.
“With a concealed weapon or being caught
with a gun, this is a felony offense. Knowing
this is in place also serves as a deterrent.
People know we have them in place; they
know they work. Since installing this security
system, we’ve been lucky, but students
also will tell us if there are guns on the way
to school or if there is an intent to bring a
gun to school. Students know their lives are
on the line as well.”
Cass Technical High School
Two schools with the largest population of
students have been the test bed for ViewScan.
Cass Technical High School has a population
of more than 2,400 students. Demographically,
the student population is 85
percent African American as well as a diverse
population of students of Bengali, Hispanic/
Latino, Arabic, Asian, and Caucasian
descent. This demographic is reflective of the
community at-large. The instructional staff
also reflects a similar ethnic diversity. Cass
Tech attracts its student population from the
city of Detroit as well as the larger tri-county
metropolitan area. Students come to school
with a wide range of abilities, talents, and
skill-levels. Our success is anchored in collaborative,
which is inclusive of all stakeholders. We created
a strategic plan based on best practices
to ensure improved student achievement and
school success. The school has ViewScan at
both the North and South entrances of the
school. The school graduates 97 percent of its
Western International High School
Western International High School is located
in southwest Detroit and is a safe haven for a
diverse group of students. Being the only
comprehensive high school in Southwest
Detroit, Western serves as a feeder to the
surrounding middle schools. We have a multicultural
community of students and staff to
optimize support for success. The diverse
enrollment includes one of the largest bilingual
populations in the state of Michigan.
As it was built in 1813, it has served generation
after generation of students that have
moved on to further education. This high
school is a PBIS school and provides various
services for students to succeed. In addition
to staff support, Western has developed
strong partnerships with various colleges
like Wayne State University and Central
Michigan University through their Upward
Bound Programs that guide and assist students
through their high school career.
The pathways offered include the Engineering
Mobility and TEACH (Technology, Engineering,
and Clinical Health). In addition to
the career pathways, Western has a great
Vocational Tech program that allows students
to get first-hand experience in the professional
field of their choosing. This high school also
has chosen to secure its student body with
ViewScan at both entrances, enhancing the
student experience on a daily basis.
All other schools within the district
remain on the mind and collective conscience
of the district’s police department
and administration. Cost is a factor, as it is
with anything, to outfitting schools with the
proper security equipment. The plan is to
protect all schools with the ViewScan security
system. The system is monitored by
security professionals; one armed and one
unarmed, who watch the screen for possible
unwanted objects. It is always about safety
and security, Christian said.
“After 42 years in law enforcement, I’m at
a point in my career where I want to see students
getting a safe and secure education. I
don’t want anyone walking out of here with a
felony conviction,” Christian said. “And, I
don’t ever want to have to pull my service
weapon out of the holster. Kids need an education,
and if we provide the security, they
can come to school without fear.”
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2019 issue of Campus Security Today.