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Security Talk Heats Up

Mineola Schools look to improve safety

Mineola School District reps conducted walkthroughs in each of its buildings before cementing security updates in response to the Sandy Hook shootings in December. District Superintendent Michael Nagler said the school board received recommendations from Massapequa-based Intralogic Solutions and Bay Shore-based A+ Technologies on revising security measures.

Trustee Artie Barnett, who’s been touting school security enhancements since the Connecticut incident, suggested the walkthroughs. Mineola officials recommended the district first examine Mineola High School and then upgrade all buildings, at an estimated cost of $50,000.

What the two companies suggest will determine the district’s next move, according to Nagler. Possible security measures could include additional security cameras, door-ajar notification, panic buttons, card access doors and so-called man traps.

“[The high school] is the biggest building,” Nagler said. “It has a lot of parts, pieces there. We can afford to get it done in the facilities upgrade in this budget. Do we want to pursue that and hold off the rest of the buildings for the next budget? Or try to get it all done in one fell swoop? We’d have to transfer some monies.”

Man traps are, according to Nagler, enclosed spaces that visitors pass through when entering schools. Visitors’ identification would be checked and their destination verified by a security officer before they could enter the premises.

A+ Technologies Director of Business Operations and Development Mike Richez said upgraded security cameras at Mineola Middle School and the high school are needed.

“Mike Nagler is driving this need and certainly in these times, it’s something that is warranted,” Richez said. “This proposal and project is for including the elementary schools as well as further expansion of the high school and middle school.”

A+’s plan includes security cameras, access control and panic button components for all the buildings, according to Richez. These plans could be implemented in the coming months.

“He has several proposals on the table,” Richez stated. “He and the board of education will make a decision as to which are the best ones. Perhaps they’ll scale down and start in a particular area and move to another are. That’s for them to decide. We’ll see where it goes.”

Since the Sandy Hook incident, Intralogic has done between 70 and 80 school district assessments. CEO Lee Mandel said there’s one thing that separates them from everyone else.

“We offer a free assessment,” he stated. “A lot [companies] charge between $10,000-$15,000 a building to do it.” 

Intralogic did a Technical Threat Vulnerability Assessment (TTVA) in Mineola on Jan. 31. Mandel anticipates the district making a decision soon.

TTVA’s check perimeter of facilities, checks door security and visitor policy and procedures, according to Mandel.

“We go into the district, send a person on site and he walks through each building with the custodial staff members, meets with the principal and basically does an 80-point checklist of different school security situations.”

Barnett said the alert and notification system in the schools are his top priority. He wants a “system in place whether it be security, a greeter or whatever can get an alert out to authorities and our school as quickly as possible because time counts.” 

Hampton Street School, Meadow Drive School and Mineola Middle School, would not receive man traps, which Nagler said could not fit in the current budget.

“Taking it one school at a time, I’m not sure if that’s the best way to go as opposed to getting all our priorities done in all of the schools one step at a time,” said Barnett.

Barnett, a retired FDNY lieutenant, said he doesn’t want to see this plan “fall on the back burner.” He said, “I honestly and truly believe that we’ll hopefully put in a system that we won’t have to ever use, but God forbid we fortify one building and leave one out there…so, from my background I believe in the response and the time of that response is important.”