Security expert: Access control, communication vital at schools

December 14, 2012 (CHICAGO)

"If we're going to protect people, students, staff, visitors, there are two things that are vital - access control and communication," RETA Security PSP Paul Timm said.

Timm is a security consultant for school districts across the country. His point about access deals with having a sort of security vestibule inside the school entry door. Visitors are buzzed in -- but don't have immediate access to the entire school until your purpose is clear.

"Newer buildings will have that. Some older buildings are being retrofitted, but I will tell you - after this incident - new schools will have locked vestibules as a rule," Timm said.

There may also be a move, Timm believes, toward visitor management software. That's where visitors scan an ID that's directed to a database before full entry is allowed. However, the system is only as good as the people who operate it which means a single source of entry and exit, and nobody is authorized to open any other doors.

"I don't think you can control every circumstance that's out there. I think that some measure of security - having a guard at the entry to the door as we do here at Skinner North - is appropriate," Chris Bass, parent, said.

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