PARK COUNTY, Colo. — For the first time in Colorado, a school will have a specialized security system that bridges the communication gap between a school district and local law enforcement via emergency buttons.
Chad Ferguson, senior account executive of Convergint Technologies, said the company's technology will be installed Friday at South Park High School at 6th Street and Castello Avenue in Fairplay.
Convergint is a global systems integrator, and it works alongside partners and manufacturers to design, install and service various security systems, including fire alarms, life safety and audio-visual programs, Ferguson said. One of those partners is ASR Alert Systems, which South Park High School will use.
“This system is important because it provides real-time information for responding agencies," Ferguson said. "So, it allows them to have more information in the event of an unplanned security event.”
He said Convergint will place buttons — both stationary and mobile — around the school, depending on the district's preference. If anybody pushes the button, it sends an immediate notification to local law enforcement with information about exactly which button was pushed, so authorities know where to respond in a school building. In addition, sirens and strobes will be activated to alert personnel and disorient the suspect, the company's website describes. Emergency texts and emails will go out as well.
The threat notifications are available for active shooter situations, medical incidents and severe weather.
This will mark the first time a school in Colorado has had this technology, he said, while noting that the exact details of how the security works remains under wraps.
Every year, Convergint tries to find underprivileged or underserved schools that would benefit from a free interior and exterior security system through its STEP Up program (which stands for secure, train, educate and protect).
“Specifically, this year we're giving that program to the Park County School District and we're helping them improve their security technology posture," he said.
Thanks to donations from the company and its partners, they'll be able to provide about $100,000-worth of solutions to the school district at no cost.
"Specifically for Park County, we saw an opportunity to help bridge the communication gap between the school district and law enforcement," Ferguson said. "And that was a strategic initiative for the school district and the law enforcement. So it was a really easy decision for us to pick them."
The reaction from local authorities and the school district was overwhelmingly positive, he said.
“Local police departments and the local sheriff have been very receptive of this program," he said. "They've worked with us to ensure that everything is in place ahead of the installation. And I think they're looking at deploying this in other locations as well."
On Friday, 75 employees from the local Convergint office will head to Park County to install the security system. They will break into teams to cover the various facets of the project.
So far, 42 schools around the country have accepted security donations through the STEP Up program. Schools in need of these services can apply online here. In 2021, employees volunteered at King-Murphy Elementary School in Evergreen and Bennett School in Bennett, where they replaced fire alarms, installed new cameras and performed maintenance on existing systems.