Staff members at Keller school district campuses and other facilities will soon have new technology at their fingertips to improve security.At Thursday night’s board meeting, trustees unanimously approved a contract with Audio Enhancement, an educational technology company, for the SAFE (Security Alert For Education) System, which is triggered by a panic button in the event of a perceived threat or emergency. “This is the first line of defense for the staff in our schools,” said Superintendent Randy Reid.When someone pushes the panic button behind the counter or sends a signal by mobile device, a 360-degree ceiling-mount camera with an audio feed begins recording in the office and transmits an alert and the feed to the offices of the campus principal and the district security director. The system also sends out an email and text to appropriate district staff members that an emergency is occurring with a link to the live feed and can also notify law enforcement, if needed. First responders would be able to see and hear events as they happen.Kevin Kinley, Keller school district director of security, said that an audit of Keller schools indicated that while outer doors are locked and cameras are spread around buildings, office security was lacking. Staff members tested the system at Trinity Springs Middle School last spring. The units integrate into the district’s current technology.“This is definitely a step that will make students and staff safer,” Kinley said. “When we talked about the option of additional security, office staff loved the idea.”Christina Hunter, a representative of Audio Enhancement, said the SAFE System is used in 44 school districts around the nation.By December, units will be installed in the office reception areas of all 39 campuses, as well as the Keller ISD Natatorium, the Education Center and the Annex. The cost will not exceed $180,000 and will be taken from savings in the 2008 Bond.
Sandra Engelland, 817-431-2231 Twitter: @SandraEngelland