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4 Steps for Strengthening School Security

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4 Steps for Strengthening School Security

The February 2018 shooting in Parkland, Fla., provided a tragic reminder that schools and other soft target need to strengthen
security against active shooter threats. Clearly it would be impractical—if not impossible—to fortify campuses with a ring of steel, and arming teachers and staff is not a feasible solution. It seems equally unlikely  that the United States would follow the footsteps of UK legislators, who outlawed the purchase and possession of handguns after the 1996 massacre in Dunblane, Scotland, when a gunman killed 16 first graders and their teacher.

Despite the inherent challenges of school safety and the political minefield of gun control, schools can take several steps to mitigate their vulnerability. The following recommendations combine best practices from law enforcement and private security, as well as lessons learned from recent attacks.

• Counter-surveillance. Most prospective attackers have done a dry run or know the school well enough to  determine whether an attack will succeed. To identify such reconnaissance efforts, schools need to have trained security personnel—either law enforcement or private security officers—who can observe activities on and around the campus, supported by live video surveillance. While many schools have security cameras, these devices are often used as an investigative tool. Skilled personnel need to monitor these feeds in real time to spot suspicious behavior.
• Intelligence gathering. Often, collecting intelligence proves more effective than beefing up security. This proactive approach focuses on averting a potential incident, rather than improving response efforts. In addition to maintaining open, two-way communication with local law enforcement, security teams should encourage frequent meetings with teachers and staff. Rumors often become reality, as was the case in the Parkland attack, when the FBI received a tip about the suspected shooter one month before the assault. Schools need to cultivate an environment where students feel comfortable approaching teachers and security professionals with concerns.
• Intervention. Schools also need to have an intervention plan for managing potential threats. Installation of high-security doors, for instance, can buy time against a would-be attacker, while teachers and students retreat to a safe room and alert law enforcement. In addition, use of assault weapons raises the stakes—and the requirements of safe rooms. Such spaces should be designed to withstand 15-20 minutes of concerted attack.
• Flexible training. Even though faculty, administration and students at the Parkland high school had undergone “active shooter training,” the gunman—a former student who was familiar with the emergency plans—nullified that preparation by triggering the fire alarm. Over-reliance on any one response method, including lockdowns and sheltering in place, is less effective than teaching students and staff how to think for themselves.

For information on how Sunstates Security can support your emergency response preparation and training, please call 866-710-2019 or email us.

Written by Sunstates Security

May 1st, 2018 at 9:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Sunstates Security Announces Promotion of Denis Kelly to Chief Operating Officer

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Sustained, double-digit organic growth creates expanded C-suite for regional security leader

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RALEIGH, N.C., August 15, 2016—Effective immediately, Denis J. Kelly has been promoted to the role of chief operating officer at Sunstates Security, based in Raleigh, N.C. His promotion from executive vice president reflects

Denis Kelly, Chief Operating Officer

Denis Kelly, Chief Operating Officer

his expanding leadership responsibilities in a larger organization, the result of sustained annual organic growth averaging an impressive 24% over the past five years.

“Denis has been a key member of Sunstates management since he joined us in 2010 as Vice President,” says CEO Kathryn Burrell. “Not only does he bring extensive industry experience and sound business acumen, but he also shares our commitment to improving the image and reputation of the contract security industry.”

As COO, Kelly will maintain oversight of companywide operations, sales and marketing, and human resources for Sunstates, which provides uniformed security services to a diverse client base throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Southwest regions of the United States. During his tenure, Kelly has led the firm’s business development efforts and helped create the operational strategy that allowed Sunstates to triple in size without sacrificing service quality.

“I’m honored to step into this role and excited about the future opportunities for Sunstates,” says Kelly. “I joined the company because I believed in, and shared, the leadership’s vision for the firm and the industry. Together we’ve come a long way toward making that vision a reality, and it’s a testament to the people we serve, both clients and employees.”

Kelly’s 24-plus years of experience in the private security industry spans entry-level operations management to executive-level leadership. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and criminal law from Eastern Connecticut State University.

About Sunstates Security
Based in Raleigh, N.C., Sunstates Security provides uniformed security personnel and security consulting services to clients throughout the United States. The company is certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Greater Business Women’s Council, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

Written by Sunstates Security

August 18th, 2016 at 7:46 pm