Gloucester School Board receives report on campus security

Kim Robins - Posted on Mar 20, 2013 - 02:16 PM

Gloucester School Board members heard a summary of findings from a recent security review of the eight county school campuses during their March 12 meeting.

Shirley Chirch, the environmental health and safety manager for the school division, said the review was conducted by Sgt. Brad Simmons of the Gloucester Sheriff’s Office, a representative from Honeywell Security and a representative from The Larkin Group, a security consulting and training company based in West Point.

Chirch said the review team was most impressed by the security measures at Peasley Middle School, many of which were put in place by the school resource officer, GSO deputy Mark Molnar. Otherwise, she said, the findings were "pretty much the same" for all the schools visited.

Chirch said the team recommended that school crisis plans be followed more consistently at each campus, and more lockdown drills should be conducted during the school year. The team also suggested that representatives from some outside agencies, such as the GSO and Gloucester Emergency Services, be included on the school division’s safety and security committee.

Security improvements recommended by the team included placing intercoms and video cameras at school entrances, installing motion activated cameras at entrances and replacing key-access locks with lock systems that utilize access cards.

In a related topic, Chirch said Sgt. Caren Sterling of the Area Five State Police Office in Gloucester has expressed interest in building a relationship between troopers and local schools.