POLICE Magazine

MAY 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/1113598

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4 3 sor. We like to have intercom access in that room so they can call a lockdown and 911, but also remotely unlock the doors once officers arrive." SEEING WITH SECURITY CAMERAS Dorn reports some schools grant police access to their security cameras, which enables officers to view what's happening inside in real time. But he warns, "ere are some limitations and concerns with doing that." First, officers must be trained to operate the cameras and this should be done before an incident occurs. Because this can be time consuming to do, Dorn recommends having people from the school district operate cameras from a safe room instead and provide camera views to police. "A lot of folks assume that if you give real-time access, police can come in and find the attacker. But in our ex- perience, this doesn't work well, especially in districts with 100 schools," he says. "It could take quite a bit of time for police to familiarize themselves with operating the camera system." In addition, cybersecurity of video surveillance systems within schools is a concern. If an agency has remote viewing access of school security cameras, they need to make sure that remote access is secure. "It is not that difficult, sometimes, for a moderately studied hacker to hack into the cameras via either the school system or the police agency's," he says. "e device you use to tap into the cameras has to be protected." He adds, "We work globally and this is not a hypothetical scenario. I worked an attack where the perpetrators took over the cameras during the event and denied police and security personnel access to their own camera system. And they used the cameras to help them kill responding personnel." e same security considerations, he says, affect proximity cards. If they are not encrypted, they are easy to hack into; per- petrators then can gain access to the school and shut out others during an attack. OFF-SITE FAMILY REUNIFICATION Once a building is swept and cleared, the next area that proves difficult is typically offsite family reunification, reports Dorn. "When schools used to do this in the 1980s and early 1990s, it was difficult but it's far more difficult now," he says. "To- day, the public is predisposed to panic. When we had a school shooting years ago, there were times when they didn't even close the school, especially if no one was killed. But today, if there is a school shooting announcement, you're going to have two to three adults rushing to the school for each child and they immediately think the worst. On top of that, they are finding out faster than they used to. Students are texting, emailing, and calling, and they are oen describing the incident as worse than it actually is." In the past, schools could transport a busload of students to an off-site reunification site and parents didn't know its loca- tion until the school notified them. Today, they know exactly where the bus is in transit. "With the level of fear we have now, a parent might pull in front of the bus to get their child off of it," he says. "It's very common to see a lot of injuries with accidents involving parents rushing to the school. In the Pearl, MS, High School shooting, there were seven accidents with injuries within the first 10 minutes, and they all involved parents rushing to the school." Safe Havens International recommends that schools and their public safety partners plan intensively for student-parent reunification and then test the processes before they need them. "Reunification is needed for things besides school shootings," he says. "You may need it for a hostage situation or an explo- sion or something like that. In those situations, you will need to move students and staff to an off-site location, so you will need to focus on that and drill on it. We suggest schools educate, to an appro- priate extent, staff, students, and parents on the reunifica- tion process." is means that while staff, students, and parents should not be told where the reunification sites will be or other specifics, they should know what their role will be, and what the pro- cess will look like. Schools can provide written notifi- cations of the process, then push the information out in parent-teacher organization meetings, and through the mass media. "In the state of Georgia, we developed scripts that are sent to the media when an event occurs," he says. "e media is given instructions to read as they report on the event. is script is updated aer the event, and includes information such as the type of event, where students are being taken, and what parents need to know, such as don't come to the site until this time, make sure you bring a 14 | SP E C I A L R E P O RT | C R I T ICA L I NC I D E N T R E S P O N S E 6 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN PREPLANNING RESPONSE TO SCHOOL SHOOTINGS PHOTO: POLICE FILE "TODAY, IF THERE IS A SCHOOL SHOOTING ANNOUNCEMENT, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TWO TO THREE ADULTS RUSHING TO THE SCHOOL FOR EACH CHILD AND THEY IMMEDIATELY THINK THE WORST." —MICHAEL DORN, SAFE HAVENS INTERNATIONAL Officers must be able to access school grounds in an emergency and train for how to navigate the property.

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