Increased Safety & Security in Alief ISD
Providing the Safest Learning Environment for All Students
School safety and security is a hot topic these days. You can clearly see that by checking your favorite news website, twitter feed, reddit thread or your local or national tv newscasts. Alief ISD takes security measures very seriously, every day of the school year.
In the district’s ongoing efforts to continue to provide the safest learning environment possible for all students, Alief ISD has taken several steps to increase safety integrity across all campuses.
“We have more than 40 campuses and multiple structures where our employees work. Providing a safe and secure environment for almost 47,000 students and 6,600 employees is not accomplished with just one step,” said Alief ISD Police Chief Dan Turner.
Turner has emphasized an increased police presence, not only on campuses, but in the communities surrounding those campuses. There is now strict adherence to sign in and identification procedures for visitors, and employees, on campuses.
“Not only are we protecting our students by making all visitors run through the Raptor identification system, which provides instant background checks, but we are enforcing the practice that all employees must sign in and out when they visit campuses. This is extremely beneficial in case of an emergency situation as it would give us a real-time look at who is on that campus,” Turner said.
Another key security feature is the installation of security vestibules on the 13 campuses that did not have them. These funds were made possible through the passage of the 2015 Bond Referendum.
“These vestibules are the single most effective way to prevent an intruder from entering a campus,” Turner said. “The front receptionist can trigger a lockdown and a call to the police with the push of one button while also preventing the intruder from entering the campus. This is a very proactive way to ensure campus safety rather than just reacting if an intruder were to enter a campus.”
The district spent $4,750,000 to install security vestibules, automated key-card access locks, CCTV camera additions and other interior solutions in place at all 45 campuses.
All campus doors are equipped with automated key-card access locks which are on timing systems to maximize security and decrease the chances of a door being propped open. An open door other than arrival or dismissal times on campuses triggers a real-time alarm that alerts dispatch and the Police Chief. “This gives us a chance to be proactive, rather than just reactive.”
The district will also be using more random weapons checks using walk-through metal detectors as well as metal-detecting wands on all campuses.
“We use these as a proactive measure so our students can see these and feel safe,” Turner added. “Schools are a reflection of the community and if there is talk of a potential situation in the community the metal detectors are another useful tool in helping prevent a situation on campus.”
As part of AISD’s emergency operations plan, all campuses are required to conduct multiple active-shooter training and the district partners with local and federal law enforcement to prepare for any school-related crisis.
The district has also upgraded camera surveillance systems across the district, increased social media monitoring and added security staff for the district’s comprehensive high school parking lots.
“We have a social media monitoring system than runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If something is happening in the community, we know about it and can take steps to prevent it from spilling over onto a campus,” Turner said. “This is another example of using proactive tools to help ensure student safety.”
An additional layer of security in Alief just recently began as Alief ISD Police added three specially-trained firearms and explosives sniffing K-9 officers to the police force. Students can expect to see these K-9 officers monitoring the interior of the three comprehensive schools as well as the exterior grounds of our campuses. They are able to detect not only firearms or explosives, but any potential weapon with gunpowder residue.
“These dogs can smell gunpowder or anything to do with a firearm or weapon from hundreds of feet away,” Turner said. “This gives us three officers per high school campus and they also will patrol other campuses as well. This is just another example of being proactive and trying to prevent a situation before it occurs.”
Alief is committed in partnering with you in providing a safe environment for students and staff. The district encourages parents to continue to have conversations with their children about the importance of school safety and that if they see something, to say something. “By working together, we can make sure our children are safe, strong and thriving,” said Turner.
Alief ISD’s efforts to increase safety integrity include increased police presence, random weapons checks using walk-through metal detectors and metal detecting wands, increased social media monitoring, the addition of K9 officers and many other strategies.
Alief ISD added three new K9 officers to its police force. Officers Tony and Fox are specially-trained firearms and explosives sniffing K-9s and recently graduated from the K9 Academy. They have the ability to smell gun powder or firearms from 100 feet away.