District adds visitor ID system to increase school security

 Beginning in early February, the Katonah-Lewisboro School District will implement a new layer of school security. Trained greeters will meet visitors at the front door of each school, adding both face-to-face contact and a process for reviewing identification. This upgrade was supported in the budget the Board approved last spring. 

The district has contracted with Raptor Technologies, a leader in integrated school safety technologies, for this system. Raptor is used by 17,000 schools nation-wide, including Chappaqua Central School District, Byram Hills Central School District, Yorktown Central School District, Somers Central School District, and Peekskill City Schools.

Frank Ruiz is the greeter assigned to Increase Miller Elementary School. His uniform—a purple polo shirt and casual pants—is friendly and approachable, a priority for the district.  “My background as a detective with the New York City Police Department has trained me to read people and notice suspicious activity before it becomes a problem,” said Ruiz.

All visitors wishing to travel beyond the front entrance will be asked to present a valid state- issued ID, which will be scanned by the Raptor System.“The system’s primary function is to help us know when visitors enter and leave, said Superintendent Selesnick. 

Raptor also compare the visitor's name, date of birth and photo against a national database of registered sex offenders. No additional data is scanned by the system. The greeter will issue a badge which identifies the visitor, the date, and the purpose of his/her visit.

The greeters will work closely with Frank Secret, School Resource Officer and former Lewisboro Police Chief, who serves both as a resource for students and teachers as well as a liaison to the Lewisboro Police Department.

The security greeters are also trained to help schools manage a range of situations from fire drills to emergencies, as well provide r
outine monitoring of existing security cameras on school campuses.

This initiative is part of KLSD’s compliance with New York State Education Department’s Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act (Project SAVE), which requires the board of education of every school district to develop a comprehensive safety plan including a district-wide school safety plan, building-level emergency response plans, and codes of conduct.