K-12 Security: Resources- ESA’s School Security Guideline

Aug. 21, 2013
A Q&A with David Koenig

In June, the Electronic Security Association (ESA) published a first-of-its-kind guideline for electronic security system implementation for schools. It was presented during a special luncheon at the 2013ESX show in Nashville with special guest Michael Kehoe, Newton, Conn. police chief and first responder to the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy.

According to ESA, the Guidelines “provide an in-depth look at the various components that lead to an effective school security program…giving school officials an understanding of the steps necessary for creating a security solution including overall security planning, assessment of threats, procurement types, contractor selection, how systems affect schools, equipment types, and system use.” They also highlight the importance of community involvement and communication between schools and local responders.

The Guidelines are the consensus of a voluntary panel of security industry experts that collectively have extensive and diverse experience in securing K-12 schools. I recently had a chance to sit down with ESA’s David Koenig, who led that panel. For more information on the guidelines, or to download a free copy, visit www.ESAweb.org.

Is this the first time ESA has done anything like this?
Koenig: It’s the first time, especially considering the way we did them. We identified a need and then we reacted to it, and performed in a fast method. We went out and approached the market of experts, rather than looking inward, and we got a nice response of about 18 different people who offered their time up and they all have between 20-40 years of experience doing security integration specifically with schools. So we put together something that’s very useful in a short period of time.

How long did it take to put this together?
I think it was six weeks. It was a testimony to this (volunteer panel) — I don’t know that any of them other than myself had volunteered within ESA before. They made themselves available, our coordinator was excellent, and the whole group had support from me and our executive director.

Was Sandy Hook the main reason that ESA chose the education market?
The Sandy Hook situation was obviously so intense and top-of-mind that we knew it was going to drive a lot of activity. There was nothing out there like this to help school administrators who we knew we going to be under an intense amount of pressure to do something in their schools. We thought, we should be reaching out to try and help them.

Is the guideline targeted only at school security end-users, or can it be a resource for dealer/integrators and installing technicians?
Absolutely — no matter how much experience you have, to get insights from other peers has got to help you at some point along the line. Our members will be using it more and more.

Does ESA plan to release subsequent procurement guidelines for other major markets?
If we find that this effort has been of value to its target, there are certainly other places — while it might not be as involved as school security because of all the different stakeholders — but if we see another need and we see that results on this one were beneficial, I would absolutely see us doing it again.

About the Author

Paul Rothman | Editor-in-Chief/Security Business

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine. Email him your comments and questions at [email protected]. Access the current issue, full archives and apply for a free subscription at www.securitybusinessmag.com.