Coeur d'Alene schools add extra security to screen visitors



Posted on January 7, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 7 at 8:02 PM

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho.—The Coeur d’Alene School District is taking another step in strengthening building security with the installation of a video intercom buzz-in system at the main entrance doors of their 17 school buildings.

Three schools will go live with the system Wednesday during a testing stage. The system will be activated in all schools in February.

The schools that will try out the system first are Ramsey Magnet School of Science, Woodland Middle School and Coeur d’Alene High School.

Schools will be able to control visitor access by locking the front entrance doors. All visitors will be required to stand in front of the camera and press the intercom button to activate the system and speak to a staff member prior to gaining entry into the school.

The district moved to a single-point of entry system last spring where all visitors must access school building through the main entrance.

Visitors will be asked for their name and purpose of their visit and may be asked for photo identification. A video screen on the main office telephone system will show the person standing at the outside intercom.

"People are used to being able to walk into school, and walk in and say hi to office staff maybe even feel like they can bypass the office staff and bring their child their lunch in their classroom. Now, you're going to need to pause and buzz in and be admitted to the school rather than just walking in school hours,” said Coeur d’Alene Superintendent Matt Handelman.

During the winter break, Lake City High School and Coeur d’Alene High School received main office remodels allowing office staff a better view of the main entrance doors.

All of the district’s school buses are equipped with multiple digital security cameras, GPS tracking and a new digital radio system.

Other security improvements include more resource officers and gun safes at some schools.

The district is the first in the State to retrofit each of its schools with the buzz in system.

"It feels great to take action. And it makes me a little nervous because we're on the cutting edge of it. We're the first district in Idaho to be doing this,” said Handelman.

The security upgrades are part of a multi-layer security enhancement paid for by a $1.4 million safety and security levy that voters approved in March of 2013.