Recently, St. Mary’s County Public Schools has been taking measures to improve the safety of our students and staff through implementing new and improved physical security. The purpose of physical security measures in our schools is to recognize potential risks, threats, and vulnerable areas within our schools. The ability to help eliminate the occurrence of problems is essential to providing students with a safe and positive learning environment.
At the start of the 2010-201l school year, a physical security audit was completed at all sites. This audit evaluated the current state of physical security at individual schools and offices. Schools were assessed on security camera coverage, building access management systems, and electronic door locks. As part of the audit, points of contacts were established and additional concerns were discussed. This communication fostered plans of where we need improvements to enhance the physical security at each site.
Per the physical security audit, various improvements have already taken place this year. Since the start of the school year, there have been 24 additional security cameras added at four different sites with upgrades to 15 cameras at two sites. Electronic locking systems have been fully installed and are operational in five schools. A new version of the BAM system has been pushed out to every site with the building access management software.
In October, the new Public Safety Radio System was implemented in every office. With the new radios, weather alerts are now faster and contain localized information. With any threat of inclement weather, an immediate warning from St. Mary’s County Department of Public Safety will broadcast over the radios. These warnings will be local and specific to the St. Mary’s County area. The Public Safety radios will also work as an emergency communication piece in the event all other lines of communication are no longer available.
The Department of Safety and Security is currently working on a five year strategic plan to increase physical security throughout the district. Our plan dictates for a minimum of four security cameras in every school and office building. Upgrades will also occur to the BAM system so that it will provide more detailed reports and improved visitor\volunteer registration. Electronic locking systems will be added to every building, on doors such as main office entrance and “learning cottage” entrances\exits.
With the current upgrades to physical security and future plans, we will continue to ensure that all students learn in a safe and positive environment. We appreciate everyone’s commitment to safety and look forward to continuing to provide a safe learning environment. Feel free to contact John Young at email@example.com with any questions or concerns.