District and College Safety and Security Get an Upgrade

This article appeared in the July 30, 2019, issue of the student newsletter.

Most of the time, a variety of perspectives is a good thing. But in the case of something as important as the safety and security of seven colleges and their community campuses, it's also incredibly important for everyone to be on the same page. That's where DCCCD Chief of Police Lauretta Hill, Administrative Services Director Steve Evans and the dedicated men and women of the DCCCD police force come in.

Phase 1: A Single Platform

As the new police chief, one of Hill's first objectives was to reinvent the way the district looked at safety and security.

"Originally, there were eight different video platforms and types of cameras districtwide, with seven different building access control systems in various stages," said Evans. "We initiated a $1.6 million project beginning in January to integrate all of these together onto one platform. We've been going systematically, building to building, to update all of that. By the end of August, we'll have approximately 750 security cameras on a single platform."

With the camera software systems now united, DCCCD police can get a view of any campus, any time — making it that much easier for them to respond quickly in case of emergency.

Phase 2: Access Control

In addition to updating and integrating the technology behind the security cameras, they're also working to upgrade and add access control to the exterior doors at every college and campus location — about 1,000 doors in total.

"All campuses will have some kind of access card, and the college presidents will be responsible for IDing which individuals need an access card as part of their line of work," said Evans. "Our plans are for all of this to go live at the start of the next fiscal year." These doors will help ensure that only authorized individuals can get into campus buildings during off hours.

Phase 3: Emergency Panic Buttons

The next part of the plan for these updates is the creation of a panic button, to be included on all desk phones and in other strategic areas. In total, there are expected to be about 1,500 panic alarms throughout the district by the time implementation is complete.

Phase 4: The IT & Public Safety and Security Project

The plans don't stop there. In addition to updating and integrating current systems, work has begun on even more additional safety and security measures. "We're integrating what we already have, but the next big phase is adding additional capacity in order to continue these technology upgrades," said Chief Lauretta Hill.

"At this point, the current system can't handle an increased load, so the IT infrastructure project is adding additional capacity so we can add additional security measures, such as cameras, access control and panic buttons in addition to what we already have." These updates will roll out as IT infrastructure plans and technology upgrades are completed.

And Finally: The Big Rollout

At DCCCD's annual Conference Day this year, the police force is also rolling out a new mobile app: RAVE Guardian. The app will include information specific to district police activities, as well as the ability to call DCCCD police through the app and receive notifications in case of emergency, such as a lockdown.

Finally, the app also includes a virtual escort for users who may be walking to their cars alone and want police to know they arrived safely. When activated, the user's location is sent to DCCCD police for the duration of its activation, and users can turn it off at any time upon reaching their destination.

"Safety and security for our students, faculty and staff is paramount," said Hill. "These sweeping updates to our security are necessary for us to stay on the cutting edge of technology and make sure we're providing a safe and secure environment for the DCCCD community."