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Chicomm Blog

Improving Security in Schools With Communication Technology

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray on Tuesday, January 16, 2024

More Security in Schools-1

School violence is a major problem that needs to be approached from many angles. At Chicago Communications, we focus on communications technology to help educators, staff, and leaders prepare for the worst and stay in touch in an emergency.

We are interested in the big picture—the infrastructure that can help protect the lives and education of our children. How can we keep our schools safer in 2024?

School Security: Two-Way Radios

In this case study from 2021, we looked at two giant school districts in Illinois and the ways leaders and staff invested in security. Barrington Community Unit School District 220 tried to keep 9,000 students across eleven campus buildings safe. However, they had issues with broken radios, communication between schools, and confidentiality.

Chicago Communications worked with the building and grounds manager to custom design a system using a MOTOTRBO trunked system that connected all the schools and buildings on the same two-way radios.

Meanwhile, Township High School District 214, home to 12,000 students across 62 square miles, sought help unifying and updating their communications technology. When we started working with them, the 62-mile coverage was causing delays, and the staff were using smartphones, laptops, and tablets to communicate. When their radios were out of range, personnel used personal cell phones.

The district saved money by using one vendor for all schools' radio programming and licenses. They deployed MOTOTRBO two-way radios and repeaters across the campus for everyone. And they began using neoConneX Fleet Manager to track the locations of all school vehicles.

School Security: Cameras

Another critical step for preventing violence in schools is installing camera surveillance systems. For example, products like Avigilon are able to capture activity from all angles when a human can’t be there. They also provide real-time access to live feeds and recorded footage. Just having the camera in place is a deterrent to mischief and violence.

In a large school or district where one person watches many video feeds, the cameras can send an alert when they notice something is wrong.

Security Guard Software

Spillman Ally is a platform security guards use for incident management and dispatch. It helps in-house and contract security personnel with incident reporting, name and vehicle records, and analytics. It’s a cloud-based, intuitive software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform designed for mobility. 

It’s perfect for these large school districts with sprawling campuses.

Customized Solutions

Just as every student is an individual, each school, campus, and district has differing needs when it comes to security.

These complex systems require custom solutions like the ones we have designed in Illinois.

Every time there is a school shooting, the debate restarts about whether teachers and school staff should be armed. We don’t have a societal agreement on that point. But can we all agree that every teacher and staff person should have a working two-way radio? That change alone would allow them to communicate instantly in case of an emergency in the classroom.

It seems like a good goal for 2024.

To get a free estimate on the best communications solution for your school or school district, contact Chicago Communications.  

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