New security devices added

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A Lock-Blok is mounted on a door in Room 100 of Loftin Feb.8. The Lock-Bloks, added during winter break, allow doors to be locked faster from the inside ensuring safer lockdowns. Photo by Emily Garcia

Devices allows classroom doors to remain locked while still offering access.

By Nicole Bautista

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Over winter break the districtwide safety and emergency management department began the installation of security devices to nearly 1,350 classroom doors throughout the district that will allow faculty and students to quickly lock down a classroom in the case of an emergency.

The concept of these devices is to help secure classroom doors in the event of an active shooter or terror attack.

“We scoured, looked and checked out basically hundreds of different locking devices and talked to peers out there at other colleges and business sectors,” said Mike Legg, district director of enterprise risk management.

Two devices were chosen to be applied to classroom doors throughout the district.

The swing of the door determined which device would be applied to each door.

“If the door swings inward, toward the classroom, the Lockdown Magnet is the device used,” Legg said. “If the door swings outward, toward the hallway, the Lock-Blok is the device used.”

The Lockdown Magnet is a magnetic strip that is placed over the metal striker plate on a doorframe, preventing the door latch from entering the strike plate and locking.

In the case of a lockdown, an instructor can slightly open the door to remove the magnet, locking the door.

The Lock-Blok is a small rubber device that resembles the letter “H.” This keeps the door ajar about half an inch, preventing the latch from coming into contact with the strike plate.

In the case of a lockdown, the instructor can slide the device away from the doorframe, allowing the door to shut.

With the use of either device — the door is always locked — preventing staff from needing to find a key, then needing to step out into the hallway to lock the door.

“The general protocol that we asked the colleges to follow is that we want the classroom doors to be in the locked position all the time,” Legg said. “24/7 would be a perfect scenario.”

An instructor should deploy the Lock-Blok and Lockdown Magnet upon entering the classroom, Legg said.

Both security devices allow students and faculty to leave and enter the classroom as needed while the door remains in a locked position.

In deciding which type of security devices to purchase, some of the criteria included price, ease of use and local control at the classroom level.

“This was the easiest, quickest and most cost-efficient way that we felt we could give local control to the professors and the students, to be able to easily lock the door down and hopefully protect their safety,” Legg said.

This is not the fix for all time, but it is the most cost-effective and quickly deployable line of protection, he said.

There are pricier devices out there that would grant more security for the doors by providing a secondary locking device; the current devices use the normal locking mechanism on the door.

Mike Burton, chair of English, education, humanities and journalism/photography, said that in considering fall 2017 when concealed carry goes into effect at community colleges, this seems like a fairly inexpensive and quick solution.

“I think that these new devices provide a pretty cost-effective way to get the appropriate security,” Burton said.

“The magnetic devices are portable, so we expect missing devices,” Legg said. “We will just have to be diligent about keeping track of that.”

For more information, call Legg at 210-485-0206.

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