Oskaloosa school puts SafeDefend on its side



Jeff Green-SafeDefend

Photo by Rick Nichols
Jeff Green, chief executive officer of SafeDefend, discusses the implemention of the non-lethal security system at the Oskaloosa school complex with Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Herrig, right, and USD 341 employees William Cormode, second from right, Sue Decker, left, and Sarah Duckworth. Also seen here is Dan Cole, SafeDefend’s national account manager.

by Rick Nichols

At a reported cost of close to $10,000, the district has installed SafeDefend, a security system built around non-lethal deterrents to violence, at the Oskaloosa school complex. The move puts the district “a leg up,” if you will, on the other five school districts based in Jefferson County and is being applauded at every turn by Sheriff Jeff Herrig.
“I’m thrilled to death to see Oskaloosa get this (SafeDefend) and we’ll (the Sheriff’s Office) work hard to get this in every school in the county,” Herrig told the paper the afternoon of Dec. 21. “That will cut the response time down tremendously.”
Earlier in the day, Herrig was among a group of seven individuals who attended an informative presentation on SafeDefend done by the Gardner-based company’s chief executive officer, Jeff Green, and its national account manager, Dan Cole. The training session took place at the USD 341 District Office.
Also on hand to hear from Green and Cole were Superintendent Jon Pfau, Pat Foster, principal at Oskaloosa Elementary School, Technology Director William Cormode, Maintenance Director Jeremy Rockhold, Data Enrollment Director Sarah Duckworth, and Sue Decker, the superintendent’s secretary and the Board of Education’s minutes clerk.
“Oskaloosa Schools is more comfortable in knowing that the SafeDefend system is installed in our school district,” Pfau said in an email sent to the paper on Dec. 21. “The safety of our students and staff is our number one objective. In the unlikely event of an individual or individuals attempting to do harm at our school district, we are protected to the highest extent. Not only do we have the actual equipment installed, but we also have the staff training and the fluid coordination with law enforcement.”
USD 341 is believed to be one of the first school districts in Kansas to have either SafeDefend or a similar system in place as a way of methodically responding to what is arguably every educator’s worst nightmare, an active shooter situation. According to the company’s website, on average, 14 people are injured in a mass shooting when the shooter ultimately has to be stopped by law enforcement personnel, but when civilians are somehow able to stop the shooter, only two and a half people get hurt.
In a typical year, according to the website, American schools receive 300 threats of violence.
Two mass shootings of note involving schools are mentioned on the website, the April 20, 1999 attack at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., that left 12 students and one teacher dead and the Dec. 14, 2012 attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six adults, all staff, dead.
According to Topeka television station WIBW, the last time there was a school shooting in Kansas was in 1985.
Once activated by a fingerprint it reads and recognizes, the SafeDefend personnel protection system simultaneously alerts a nationwide monitoring company, sends a text to designated employees instructing them to immediately initiate established building lockdown procedures, and notifies local law enforcement personnel, identifying for them the exact location where the system was first engaged.
Activation of the system also enables the person who activated it to have instant access to the contents of a SafeDefend safe, some of which can be used to slow down the attacker at the very least. Those contents include gel pepper spray, a high-intensity strobe flashlight, a sturdy baton capable of breaking a window if need be, and a whistle.
The safe also contains a trauma kit, a safety vest and flex cuffs. The trauma kit can be used to help treat a gunshot wound.
Herrig is very much impressed by the system as a whole. “It’s a very good tool for the schools,” he said.

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Posted by on Jan 28 2016. Filed under The Independent. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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