ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WPMI) Orange Beach Elementary School is now the center of attention when it comes to school security. Calls have been pouring in from schools across the country seeking advice after the school unveiled a new safety plan to protect students in the event of an outside attack.
Interest in the upgrades at the school are attributed to how simple and cost effective they are.
Principal Lori Brocato now wears a panic button around her neck and so do all of her teachers.
"We've had a couple of false alarms and they gave us an opportunity to deal with this in real time and both opportunities were learning experiences. We found some areas where we needed to grow," said Brocato.
Thanks to some quick action and a quick infusion of money from the Orange Beach City Council and more than $15,000, a lot has changed.
"We have several cameras on campus; we've upgraded those. We have upgraded DVR tapes during the school day and it gives me the opportunity to watch campus from my office," said Brocato.
Assistant Police Chief Greg Duck said in a changing world cities and schools have to be proactive.
"We fortunately had the funding to do that but then again we had only one school to concentrate on," said Duck.
These are layers of protection a full time police officer on campus, security cameras and a new lock down alarm system which is different from a fire alarm all have become necessary.
Kevin Levy, a former Secret Service Agent and head of the county's Security and Safety Task Force, said security programs are being developed for all the schools in the county. He commends Orange Beach for its diligence in getting things done quickly.
"But ultimately the school system here in Baldwin County is going to be faced with choices and some of those choices are going to be improvements that have financial implications, and other are going to be more procedural so we are looking at all of those to enhance the school district here," said Levy.
The police chief gave up part of his equipment budget to outfit the school with new equipment. New fencing and tinting windows are next for the school.