Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness
The safety and security of our students, staff and visitors are the District's highest priorities. The District continues to work to implement safety and security enhancements that provide safer learning environments for school stakeholders.
“Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.” Nelson Mandela
Priority Safety and Security Investments
Following the first phase of physical assessments of schools in August 2018, Safe Havens International, Inc. provided priority recommendations to systematically enhance safety and security at all schools. These recommendations aligned with the findings resulting from the completion and aggregation of the School Security Risk Assessments (SSRA) online tool. The SSRA is an online security risk assessment tool produced by the Department of Education for conducting security assessments by school officials at each public school site in the state. This helps school officials to identify threats, vulnerabilities and appropriate safety controls for the schools that they supervise.
The School Board authorized $31 million in investments to address the top four priorities identified.
1. Expansion of Video Surveillance
On July 24, 2018, the School Board authorized the expansion of the District’s video surveillance system and completed Phase I of the video surveillance project. In Phase I, all school video surveillance systems
wereupgraded to a standard, digital platform, which provides the ability to centrally monitor the District’s complete inventory of approximately 10,000 cameras. This new capability allowed the District to enter into a formal agreement with the Broward Sheriff’s Office on January 15, 2019, to provide live, real-time access to all of the District’s cameras. This agreement was authorized to improve law enforcement and fire safety personnel response to emergencies at District schools or facilities when active circumstances present an immediate need for law enforcement or fire safety personnel to respond. The District is actively working to develop similar agreements with other law enforcement agencies within Broward County to provide them with similar access.
The video surveillance expansion project provides $6.2 million to install approximately 2,500 new analytic and digital cameras at schools in priority areas on campuses identified by Safe Havens International. It is anticipated this expansion will be completed prior to the start of the 2019/20 school year.
2. Radio System Migration and Enhancement
This project includes two distinct work streams. Phase I migrates the District’s school buses and other non-emergency radio traffic from Broward County’s existing public safety radio system to the newly-developed local government radio system. This will reduce the capacity load on the existing public safety system, as Broward County continues its work to replace the existing system by the end of 2019 and dedicate its usage to public safety workers and first responders. The migration of the District’s bus radios will begin in April 2019 and be fully completed prior to the start of the 2019/20 school year. Phase II of this project includes the purchase of additional radios and repeaters to enhance the existing local radio networks at all schools. In total, the School Board authorized $4.5 million for this critical project.
3. Upgrade of Intercom System
The School Board also authorized $17 million to upgrade the intercom systems at high schools, technical colleges, centers
andsecondary combination schools. This project will improve emergency communications within schools. It will upgrade the intercom system to a digital platform; allow school administration to pre-record emergency messages and initiate them remotely ; andincorporate additional speakers throughout the campuses. The District anticipates selecting a business partner to accomplish this work in April 2019, with a significant amount of the work being implemented during the summer of 2019.
4. Implementation of New Enterprise Risk Management Framework
The District has developed a new Office of Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness. This new office will align the District’s existing safety and security resources, and provide
additional$3.2 million in new resources under a Chief Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness Officer.