DeKalb County, GA — DeKalb Schools Police Chief Brad Gober along with other officers and Principal Dr. Derrica Boochee-Davis offered a demonstration of new safety systems at Columbia High School on Aug. 3.
An emergency alert system, CINTEGIX Crisis Alert, is already active in all schools, while a weapons detection system EVOLV Express is installed in all middle and high schools.
Gober said that he chose EVOLV after looking for a system that would respect student privacy, allow efficient movement into the building during peak hours, and still work to protect students and staff.
“We were looking for a system that was not that invasive while still very effective,” Gober said.
The system tags the location of a likely weapon, so security staff know where to look. Students don’t have to stop or have their bags searched unless there is an alert. Meanwhile, other students can continue entering the building.
Initial installation, hardware, software, and service for the first year for all schools cost $3.2 million. An annual contract for hardware, software, and maintenance will cost $1.6 million annually and is renewable for three more years.
For the CINTEGIX crisis alert system, all staff will have a button on their badges that they can press for assistance in the case of students fighting, medical assistance in the case of a medical emergency, or a full lockdown.
Gober said that alerts for assistance with student altercations will go to resource officers in that school, and if medical assistance is needed, an officer can contact 911 dispatch over the radio for a quick response. The system will also show officers the location from which the alert originated.
“The great thing about the system is that it works throughout the campus, whether it’s out on the playground or in the parking lot,” Gober said.
In the case of a lockdown, all teachers and other staff in the building and all officers and district-level staff throughout the district including the superintendent, and the DeKalb County Police Department will be alerted that a lockdown is in process.
Gober said that all staff have been trained on how to use the system. CINTEGIX cost the district $3.9 million for purchase and installation.
Gober said that other school districts, including Atlanta Public Schools use the EVOLV system, and almost 75% of school districts in Georgia have CINTEGIX. He said the new systems will work alongside other safety measures already in place, such as a K9 unit capable of detecting weapons and explosives, and an emergency response team.
Board of Education member Vickie Turner praised Gober’s diligence and persistence.
“I know it brings a sense of peace for us as mothers and as grandmothers to know that we are providing the best environment we can for [our children] to have a successful day,” Turner said.
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