School district adding security measures

By Ashley Luthern

The board of education agreed Monday to allow a Poland Township police officer in all school buildings and to spend up to $80,000 in security upgrades districtwide.

Poland Trustees Mark Naples, Robert Lidle Jr. and Eric Ungaro offered a full-time police officer to be dedicated to school security. Currently, an officer makes periodic checks of the high school.

“Everybody is in agreement and has the understanding that every school district has a million and one security issues going on and they all cost money. We’re trying to make it as feasible as possible. We will give you a full-time officer from now until the end of the school year,” Ungaro said.

Police Chief Brian Goodin said the department’s schedule will be rearranged for an officer to begin working in the schools next week.

Township officers do have police powers in Poland Village, where four of the district’s schools are, and school and township officials said they will work with village officials, too. The trustees also pledged to apply for grants to fund a school-resource officer.

The school board also heard from Thomas A. Madej of Team 8e Architecture, which toured the district’s buildings Dec. 21 to examine building entrances.

Madej proposed installing programs to lock down doors at specific times and have video cameras at the doors for school personnel to see who is at the door.

“What we liked about automated electronic access control is that [key] fobs have information stored on them, and now you have a record of who is going in and out of the door,” Madej said.

A couple of fobs, small key-sized hardware devices, could be designated for students to use during recess, he said. They can be programmed only to work during certain times of the day.

“If [a key fob] is lost, it’s very easy to cancel it, and then it’s no good anymore. There’s a lot of flexibility with this type of system,” Madej said.

The school board approved spending up to $80,000 and declared an urgent necessity, contingent upon approval from legal counsel, to move forward immediately instead of bidding out the project.

Madej said the project should be completed in four to five weeks, but that time will lengthen considerably if the school board must bid out the work.

Treasurer Don Stanovcak said the majority of the $80,000 will come from the school’s permanent improvement fund with the remainder taken out of operating expenses.

Interim Superintendent Don Dailey said securing building entrances and adding a police presence to schools were the primary recommendations from district parent-staff security committees that were recently convened in each building.

“We just nailed the two biggest concerns tonight,” he said.

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