The issue of Wake County school security will continue to be on the agenda as the district's task force on school safety holds its first meeting this afternoon.
The group, chaired by Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison and retired Raleigh Police Capt. Al White, is supposed to review Wake school safety policies to come up with recommended changes. The meeting, starting at 4:30 p.m. at Crossroad II, 110 Corning Road in Cary, is open to the public.
Security was also an issue for Wake County school board members during Wednesday's facilities committee meeting.
As noted in today's article, a lot of discussion was about what's seemingly going to become inevitable in the wake of the Connecticut school shootings. Elementary schools are likely going to be locked with visitors having to be buzzed inside the building.
There was also discussion Wednesday of the other components of the $18.1 million security proposal that would be funded by the next bond issue.
Russ Smith, Wake's senior director of security, said they want to address what's become a hodgepodge of features at different schools to provide the same standard.
"This will provide a level playing field for our schools," Smith said of the proposal.
For instance, Wake wants to add up to $11.7 million in surveillance cameras. Smith said 21 of the 169 schools don't have any cameras. The number of cameras at the older schools is less than at the newer ones.
Wake wants to spend up to $3.8 million on an electronic locking system, Smith said, because what's in place at many of the schools is antiquated.
Wake is looking at $1 million for a networked visitor registration system because Smith said only 27 schools have a version of the Lobbyguard system. Smith said that several schools received for free the Ident-A-Kid visitor management system that he said doesn't provide the checks or red flags they can get from something like LobbyGuard.
Smith said that then when people run their driver's license through LobbyGuard, it checks the sex offender registry database. He said it also let them see whether a person had been red flagged with a trespass notice at any schools.
School board member Jim Martin asked about what happens if a visitor doesn't have a driver's license. The system allows a person to type in their name which Smith admitted is not foolproof.