Schools Continue Security Upgrades

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EAGLE POINT, Ore. – One year ago, Eagle Point Schools began upgrading their school security systems, in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012. School leaders said those projects will continue this summer.

The district teamed with the Jackson County Sheriff’s office in 2013 to install the NEXAR security system in Shady Cove School. The technology uses panic buttons in each classroom, and when the buttons are pushed, they active automatic cameras and door locks, and provide a video and audio linkup to the sheriff’s office. Deputies can then remotely lock or unlock doors, change colored lights above classrooms to signal staff, and use the cameras to guide first responders to the right location.

The school district will not install smaller versions of that system in the front offices of each school. The smaller version will still connect to the sheriff’s office and utilize cameras and panic buttons.

The sheriff’s office originally paid for the $100,000 Shady Cove system using drug forfeiture money. The smaller versions will cost about $6,000 each, and will be paid for by the district, according to Human Resources Director Allen Barber.

Eagle Point Schools will also begin training staff this summer on a new technique to respond to active shooter situations – called “ALICE.” The name stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate, and teaches staff on how to respond during a threat, including barricading doors, finding escape routes, and clearly informing other staff of what is going on. Administrators will be trained this summer, and teachers and students will receive the training next school year.

Medford Schools began installing police alarms in schools earlier this year. The buttons act similar to fire alarms, and alert police when pushed. The buttons will continue to be put into schools over the next few months.