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Security coming to schools

Jason Strykowski, of the Record Staff

Plans to strengthen security at Park City School District campuses will have to remain just plans; for now.

The district has looked at possible new security measurements to be implemented at all eight campuses for several months, but the process of planning has only begun to pick up steam recently. Currently, the district purchasing agent, Kevin Kingdon, is doing research and gathering information. At the moment, the district’s knowledge on the subject is limited and they are looking for outside suggestions.

Once this initial information has been gathered, Kingdon will send out requests for proposals to security contractors in the hopes of receiving a reasonable bid. It is also possible that the district could encounter a contractor they might like to hire during the research phase.

The research process has been fairly substantial for Kingdon, if not yet fruitful. He has spent time looking at other models employed at other districts including Columbine in Colorado and the Salt Lake City School District which has already sent out requests for proposals and is currently awaiting responses. Kingdon has also spoken to several contractors to get a preliminary idea of the systems that could be used, but he said their input was of limited value.

Although details on the security system that the schools might incorporate may not be revealed or installed until November, the district has already allotted over $1 million to pay for the changes and likely expects one full-time employee to monitor or supervise the system once it is in place. However, Kingdon said the specifics of the budget have not yet been discussed with him.

Any change the district makes is also likely to be a major addition to the minimal security in place, which mostly consists of installed cameras.

Security at the campuses, currently, is more a matter of cooperation than one of infrastructure. The district has worked out action plans with the Park City Fire District that, when properly executed, could allow schools to react safely to virtually every imaginable disaster and emergency situation. The schools use an incident command system that Captain Shawn Winder of the Park City Fire Department called "an in-depth emergency response system" that helps schools "deal with an incident in organized fashion."

Aside from the Fire Department, Kingdon also said that he has discussed a school security system with the Park City Police Department, although they were unavailable for comment on the specifics of their suggestions. New Police Chief Wade Carpenter approached the school board to discuss possible arrangements, according to board member Vern Christensen, and the two groups could collaborate soon on the system that they hope to build.

Although the specifics are still in the air, Kingdon said that parents have not been shy about contacting him and asking him about these new security measures. As a purchasing agent, school security is not normally his responsibility and Kingdon said that his de facto position as the authority on school security has been interesting.


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