Spring, Baseball, and Campus Security

I CAN APPRECIATE at least one good aspect in all four of nature’s seasons, but there is something about spring that really stands out for me.  Perhaps it’s the warmer temperatures, brightening skies and blossoming flowers.Or maybe it’s just the fact that baseball is back.

Yeah, I’m a big fan of “America’s Pastime,” and honestly, my appreciation for the game seems to be growing with age.  As a kid, it was all about getting a chance to bat and run the bases—or on TV it was all about rooting for my favorite team to win. But nowadays I’m finding myself paying closer attention to the nuances of the game: What pitch is coming next? Is it time to bring in the reliever? Is the hit and run on?
Of course, in order to implement any coordinated strategy you need communication. Baseball, I’ve found, also has this pretty well covered. You’ve got players and coaches all over the place giving secret hand signals, a phone in the dugout to call the bullpen, and any time there is a really high fly ball you get one of my favorite forms of baseball communication, a player screaming, “I’ve got it!” (And if that message doesn’t get through, well, it usually ends up with two players colliding—ouch!)

Another form of baseball communication is the good old “meeting on the mound,” which has various forms—could just be pitcher and catcher, maybe a few coaches too, and sometimes it’s the entire infield if they have some serious strategy to discuss. Although, sometimes such meetings are merely a rouse of sorts designed to let the next reliever, who got the phone call from the dugout, more time to warm up. Go figure.

It’s one thing to think about communication in a game, but the stakes are much higher when communication is needed in a security emergency. One of the major themes in this issue of SECURITY Dealer & Integrator is “campus security,” and when thinking through the security challenges of a campus environment, communication is one area where we’re seeing many technological advancements. In more and more security installations security dealers and integrators are being required to get cameras and doors to communicate via a network with a PC or command center, but in a campus environment, technology is also needed to get accurate information out to numerous people in a short period of time (often dubbed, “mass notification”).

As part of our “Then and Now” series celebrating 30 years of SECURITY Dealer & Integrator magazine, this month Karen Johnson writes about Mass Notification Systems and how they have evolved into what they are today. Also in this issue you will find Editor Deborah O’Mara’s in-depth story about security and life safety at schools, a roundtable with leading integrators in campus security, as well as perspectives on the topic from our fire expert, Greg Kessinger, and access control expert, Tim O’Leary.

If your business is still sitting in the dugout when it comes to campus security, then maybe you’ll pick up a few signs in this issue that help you step up to the plate.