“Nobody watches the cameras. We use them as an instant replay system and I think most places do,” says Pasquarosa. “I would rather have my doors locked then have a camera nobody is watching to see if anyone is coming.”
Pasquarosa does it admit, the cameras make his job “ten times easier”. He has about 250,000 square feet to patrol and since it is not possible to be everywhere at once, those cameras are his eyes.
“Your population doesn’t really know whether it’s being watched live at that moment, but they know they are being observed and recorded and it’s a deterrent,” he says.
Safety Plans Are a Joint Effort
When putting safety procedures and technology plans together, it’s a good idea to have at least one representative from every major school department.
“You’re not creating the project in a vacuum,” says Surfaro. “It’s going to be used by everyone.” Training time on new security systems is then reduced because every department had a hand in designing it.
Schools should also bring in the liaison for its local first responders like firefighters and police. Pasquarosa says schools are often hesitant to reach out to these entities, but shouldn’t be.
“Public safety is very, very happy to be there and to assist them not just with response, but with the planning and training so that everybody is on the same page and so when they respond to a situation it’s a smooth response,” he says.
If these plans are made independent of one another it will almost certainly lead to confusion should an emergency occur on campus. Both the school and public safety may end up with unrealistic expectations of what each party can accomplish and how they will do it.
“Everyone has to come to the table and have a meaningful discussion about what works, what doesn’t work, what can we do and what is beyond our capability,” says Pasquarosa. “Then you end up with a plan suited for the community and a plan suited for specific schools.”