Guest Post: Addressing the Security Needs of an Expanding Campus

Ron Culmer by Ron Culmer | 07.23.2013

Ron Culmer is currently a Captain with the University of the District of Columbia’s Office of Public Safety/Police.

The national profile of campus safety has never been higher than it is today. That’s both bad and good – bad because the profile is higher in large part due to the number of tragic incidents that have unfolded at K-12 schools, universities and other large campuses across the country. Good because it means more people are taking further steps to be on guard against these types of incidents.

For a pdf of the full IACLEA presentation, click the image above.

Late last month, Honeywell’s Mark Arbogast and I had the chance to tell my university’s own story about how it’s evolving to protect students, faculty and visitors at the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, Inc.’s (IACLEA) annual conference. IACLEA is the country’s largest association of professionals charged with securing the nation’s campuses from ever-evolving threats. In the case of my university – the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) – this meant making needed security infrastructure improvements while the university itself rapidly expanded. When you look at the fact that we count approximately 6,000 students across six colleges and schools spread over four locations throughout the DC metro area, it’s pretty easy to see that there’s a lot to cover.

UDC worked with Honeywell and Delaware integrator Advantech to create an integrated system that could accommodate growth. Watch the video below to see what we accomplished.

If YouTube is blocked, you can view the video here.

Many people like to talk about the benefits of “integrated systems” but I think even more would be interested in hearing about why organizations need those benefits in the first place. For UDC, we had several reasons to need an integrated system, including:

  • The growth of our existing system was impractical
  • System failures were very costly
  • We needed a “force multiplier”
  • And then there’s the age-old challenge that just about every organization must contend with – the need to do more with less

Do any of these reasons sound familiar? You’ve likely heard them all from your various end-user customers. Explaining how integrated systems can address these types of challenges is critical to helping end users obtain that all-important “buy-in.”

When it comes to choosing an integrator, I believe it comes down to four key factors: longevity, experience, training certificates and an investment in service. Having and clearly communicating these credentials can go a long way towards earning the trust of people in my position.