April 26, 2018—Some safety and security upgrades funded by the 2014 Bond are more visible than others, but each has the same mission.
“Any enhancement we can make [that benefits] our students, it creates a safer learning environment,” said CFISD Police Chief Eric Mendez. “The safer the learning environment, the more comfortable students are at going to school and knowing they’re secure and safe and their attention is not focused on their safety but focused on their academics.”
Among the more visible upgrades are the emergency call boxes. Each secondary campus (middle schools and high schools) has two of the tall blue towers, which feature a call button and speaker and dial directly to CFISD police dispatchers.
The stations were provided by CASE Systems Inc. at a cost of $755,000. One is located near the school’s front main entrance, while the second is located in the rear near the athletics area.
CFISD officials drew inspiration while touring a number of colleges and universities, where emergency call boxes are regularly seen.
“In traveling around and looking at college campuses, we saw these blue towers,” said Roy Sprague, CFISD chief operations officer. “So if a student on those large campuses got into trouble and needed some assistance, they had the ability of calling into their police department at the university.”
The call boxes add another layer of safety and security at the campuses, going along with projects such as secured vestibules, added security cameras, card reader access points, buzzer door releases and bullet-resistant glass.
If in an emergency situation, someone can simply push the call button on the box. The call reaches a CFISD police dispatcher, who can be heard through a speaker on the call station.
“Almost everybody, if not everybody, carries a cell phone, but not always is a cell phone available,” Mendez said. “You may be at the school because you’re a community member who decides to run the track in the evening hours so you’re not carrying your cell phone and there’s an emergency. You now have a way to notify our department in the event of an emergency and you don’t have to go find your cell phone.
“Having the ability to have a call box at a campus so that anyone can notify us or first responders of an emergency, those seconds are precious to us.”