MVES security system already proving valuable

Published 2:29 pm Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Raptor system authorizes all visitors to Alabaster's Meadow View Elementary School. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

The Raptor system authorizes all visitors to Alabaster’s Meadow View Elementary School. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Jamison Lee, the school resource officer at Meadow View Elementary School, doesn’t like the idea of having to run all visitors’ names through a database before granting them access to the school.

“I hate that we have to have it, but we’ve got to make sure our kids are safe,” Lee said during a May 7 interview at the school. “It’s like car insurance. You want to have it, but you hope you never have to use it.”

For the past several weeks, the school has been using the Raptor security system to monitor and track all MVES visitors. When visitors arrive at the school, they buzz the front office from a terminal near the school’s front door.

Front office staff members then use a camera system to view the visitor before granting them access to the front office. Once the visitor arrives in the office, the visitor provides a photo ID card, which is then run through “several databases” to ensure the visitor is allowed on school property, Lee said.

The web-based system also allows Lee and school administrators to access the database and user information even if they aren’t at the school.

Once cleared by the databases, the system then prints out a personalized name tag displaying the visitor’s photo and areas of the school they are authorized to visit.

Alabaster City Schools Operations Coordinator Jeff Atkins said the database has already alerted school officials of a delivery man who was not supposed to be on a school campus.

“It’s a very good program. It’s already proven to provide that extra layer of security,” Atkins said.

Lee said the system costs “just under a dollar a day to run,” and is funded by donations from the school’s PTO.

“We’ve already talked to our PTO, and they are going to fund it again next year,” Lee said. “We haven’t had any complaints about it yet. Unfortunately, it’s a necessary thing that we’ve got to do.”