Campus Safety Tech

LA Unified Police Pack iPads for School Safety Assessments

Los Angeles Unified School District has begun the long haul of assessing the safety of its 1,200 campuses with the help of specially trained "school site evaluators," iPads and a mobile school assessment tool. The Los Angeles School Police Department is using a program from Haystax Technology to identify crime and safety vulnerabilities.

The Haystax School Safety Center app guides school evaluators through questions about building infrastructure, physical security, safety policies and emergency planning procedures. The service allows evaluators to attach emergency plans, blueprints, photos, comments and other files, which can then be shared with external public safety agencies that use the tool to be better prepared when responding to campus incidents.

Each assessment takes about a day, and much of it is run on the iPad.

"We can't eliminate all vulnerabilities, but we can eliminate a significant number through our in-depth school site evaluations," said Sergeant Steve Mayoral, the officer in charge of the evaluation unit. That unit is part of a police department with 350 police officers, 126 school safety officers and 34 support staff members.

Last October Florida launched a similar initiative. There the work was funded by the state department of education as follow-on to legislation mandating that schools contract with a security consulting firm to run security risk assessments.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.