During the ISC West trade show last week, SIA Education @ ISC launched its new School Safety Series that focused on improve K-12 and higher education security. While many electronic security integrators attended those sessions, Protection 1 was hosting one of its own.
Just hours before P1 took home the SAMMY Award for Best Overall Integrated Marketing Campaign on April 9, the firm’s Dallas-based branch held its first-ever School Safety & Security Symposium and Luncheon in at Jack E. Singley Academy in Irving, Texas. As many as 150 security directors, legal counsels, superintendents, principals, administrators, risk compliance officers, school resource officers (SROs) and directors of operations attended the event, which was standing room only. Session participants addressed several issues, including protective measures, processes and physical solutions to improve campus security and the encouragement of a proactive approach to threats. Additionally, the symposium touched on hot topics affecting many of the nation’s schools today such as shooter scenarios, lockdowns and protocols; liability and risk mitigation; vulnerabilities in background checks; and threat of sexual misconduct.
To get this program off the ground, P1 collaborated with Defense by Design, which offers organizations a customized approach to modern defense; Quick Search, which provides background searches; Rolland Safe & Lock Co.; and Wells Fargo Insurance.
Below, Juliet Morphew, commercial sales manager for P1’s Dallas office, discusses the importance of listening to education market customers to provide the best solutions to create safer school environments.
How did you organize this event?
Our entire sales team has a mantra of promoting security and safety awareness through education and engagement. One of our team members, Angela Roberts, is a community leader and a leading Protection 1 security consultant. She established a strategic partnership with Defense by Design owner Jeff McKissack specifically to deliver critical information in educational venues.
Protection 1 has partnered on other events in the past, like our “Violence in the Workplace” educational symposium geared toward HR and risk management leaders, and we will continue to do so in the future. This one was different in that we each sought out additional partners to round out the topics we could present and reach a wider school audience.
Was this event prompted by the Newtown, Conn., shooting or was this already in the works?
It was definitely already in the works as one of several educational venues; however, this one morphed itself around recent events, particularly the shooter scenarios and sexual misconduct issues that have hurt our communities and schools. This really piqued interest from leaders willing to volunteer their time as educators to our audience. This was a key success factor in attendee turnout and sponsor support from industry suppliers such as Honeywell, ADI and ASSA ABLOY.
Did the attendees request this event?
Our school administrators and decision makers have always expressed an interest in learning more about safety and security improvements; however the scope of the educational need in this venue ended up being much broader based on end user input. Once we inquired about the needs from school decision makers and leaders in Dallas Fort Worth, the program took off and developed with clear purpose.
What was discussed during the event?
Improving campus safety through the use of people, processes, training and technology. There was a strong desire from the attendees to hear more about electronic security as it relates to lockdown scenarios.
What experts were on hand during the session?
Angela Roberts and Jeff McKissack. Dallas Independent School District (ISD) Police Chief Craig Miller served as the keynote speaker, while Irving ISD Director of Security and Operation Pat Lamb provided the opening address. We also had presentations from Quick Search, Wells Fargo Insurance and Rolland Lock and Safe.
How did you decide who would speak at the event and what would information would be presented?
Once we started asking leaders in our networks, ideas were contagious and people came out of the woodwork to participate. In fact, we had to limit the numbers of speakers and make plans for another session in the future.
What tips would you give to other security companies that are planning similar events in their regions?
Reach out to public officials and community leaders to determine their pressing issues and build an educational program around those topics. A key success factor in this event was a strong desire to educate, not sell. When we educate, we improve our communities and build rapport. Selling happens as a byproduct of objective consulting when you are an expert in your field.
Anything else you would like to add?
Educational events like this serve as a catalyst for decision makers to take action. They ultimately gain new best practices that result in a safer community for all of us, most especially for our students in the campus environment. Our post-symposium surveys gave us an even better picture of where we go from here. There is a definite need for continued education about school safety and security in the school markets. Community leaders and school officials have expressed a desire for a longer program and specific workshops in a follow on venue. Electronic security, vulnerabilities in background checks and threats of sexual misconduct remain among the most pressing issues.
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