02/06/14 Plymouth Schools Safety and Security Director, James Phillips, hit the ground running when he was hired a little over six months ago. He presented his progress to the Plymouth School Board on February 4.
Phillips said he began the process of assessing needs for individual schools and the corporation as a whole by reviewing an existing security review that had been completed and meeting with the members of the Safety Committee already in place.
He then began pouring over policies and procedures; consulting with administrators, teachers, classified staff, and other school directors to get their viewpoints; visually inspecting each of the buildings in the corporation; and seeking sources to get projects completed.
Phillips said, “The two areas we knew needed to be reviewed were the entry-ways to each building and visual management systems.
He said they have completed a review and update of the corporation’s security plan and submitted it to the Department of Education.
Phillips said, “Now we are hoping to change the culture of the Board, superintendent, teachers and the community to a mindset of being aware.”
Within a short period of time of his July 17, 2013 hire, Phillips had presented the Board with a list of items that included both short and long term needs. Philips said, “We needed to start with “the low hanging fruit”, referring to safety/security needs that he felt needed immediate attention. The Board authorized a bond to fund the projects. However, Phillips continues to seek funding from other sources as well. According to Phillips, Plymouth Schools received a matching grant from the state (Indiana Secured School Fund) in the amount of $50,000. Phillips told the Board that they were invited to apply for an additional $50,000 grant and he plans to submit the application by March 15, 2014. He said, “The main emphasis of the grant is controlling access, utilizing technology, and putting school resource officers in place. They have been successful in working with the Plymouth Police Department to have Officer Ted Brown in the schools. The installation of a corporation-wide CCTV system installation is now in progress and near completion, according to Phillips. Additionally, upgrades to the visitor management systems are completed.
He told the Board that the AngelTrax Bus Video system and the Child Check-Mate Systems are now in place on approximately 95 percent of the school’s fleet.
Phillips said it is important to continue building relationships with the Emergency Management Department, Fire Department and EMS, County Safety Committee, and the PCSC Safety Committees as well as establishing relationships with local, county and state police departments.
Philips has also established a working relationship with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and Juvenile Probation Department for the prosecution of the Compulsory Attendance Law.
Among other projects finished or near completion include playground fencing at Washington Discovery Academy, card and badges for entry and authentication, and room door lock systems.
Carol Anders Correspondent