School Safety - Countering Today 's Threats


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draft comprehensive system of ensuring safety in educational and other institutions with mass stay of children, principle of work, goals, objectives, structure, forces, means and planned result

School Safety - Countering Today 's Threats

Part 2.
Draft comprehensive system of ensuring safety in educational and other institutions with mass stay of children

Since the first publication a little more than six months have passed, but in this short period there have been two new attempts to commit mass killings in educational institutions: in Kazan and Blagoveshchensk. Several other similar tragedies were prevented at the preparatory stage. Such dynamics clearly indicate that if the approach to the organization of security of educational institutions is not revised in the very near future, this list will be supplemented by new tragedies.
We should begin by recognizing the very existence of the problem. It is necessary to stop living in a world of illusions and to realize that over the past forty years the world around us has changed very much, and it has not changed for the better. The number of threats of various kinds has increased significantly, and children are particularly vulnerable to them, because of their age and lack of life experience, they cannot resist these threats on their own.
It is possible to talk indefinitely about the morals of modern society and to give up memories of the past - it will not change anything. It is necessary to state without unnecessary emotions that today the school has become the object of increased danger. By taking this fact as a given, we will be able to choose two possible scenarios: either continue to pretend that nothing is happening (what we are actually doing today) or openly voice the existence of a threat and begin to find effective ways to counter it.
At present, in our country, the security of educational institutions in most cases (only expensive private schools are the exception) is ensured formally, at the most primitive level. Concepts such as comprehensive (multilevel) or simply security system exist only on paper, in the form of reports and references. The implementation of direct tasks for the protection of the life and health of children in general has been entrusted to private security organizations. Only as practice shows, all this does not create special problems for intruders. There are several reasons for this, and in the first part of the article we have already discussed them. For a general understanding of the situation, it is sufficient to know by what principle the selection of security organizations for the protection of educational institutions in our country is carried out.
To the above I only want to add the following feedback:


Opinion of specialist, head of private security company:
For the organization of quality protection of schools, if you do everything at least for the most part as required by law, the price for this service can be boldly multiplied by at least three. Today, in the middle strip of Russia, local authorities pay on average about 30 thousand rubles per month for the protection of one school (by one guard during the day, 12-hour shift) (remember this figure). That 's what it really is.
Now let 's count as it should be:
- Mode of school operation 5-6 days a week for 11-12 hours, duration of guard change minimum 12 hours. In accordance with the requirements of labour legislation, at such a facility (subject to the standard of hours established by the production calendar) I need to keep a minimum of two guards working on schedule 2/2;
- For high-quality protection specialists are needed. A good guard (by the standards of private security), prepared, responsible and experienced, even in the middle lane for less than 30 thousand rubles per month will not work. And this, I note, is on the periphery. I am no longer talking about regional centers, and especially about Moscow, St. Petersburg or oil-producing regions of the north, there the figures will be a few orders of magnitude higher.
On this basis, only on the salary of two guards I need a minimum of 90 thousand rubles per month, because except for those 60 thousand rubles that I will give to employees on hands, another 30 thousand I will pay in the form of taxes and contributions from the remuneration fund. In addition, at least 10 thousand rubles per month are expenses for the rapid reaction team, duty station, installation and maintenance of alarming, communication, special means, etc. And this is provided that I will have at least five such objects, because if they are smaller, it is already below the threshold of profitability, and such an object becomes loss-making for me.
Thus, in order for this post to at least pay for itself, it is necessary to minimum 100 thousand rubles per month. At the same time, I note that I run a private security company, not a charitable organization, and the main purpose set out in my charter is to make a profit. So, in order to get at least a minimum profit (from which taxes are paid) I need to increase this amount by at least 10 thousand rubles per month. There are such calculations.


The total by the most modest calculations the budget of protection of one school with quality slightly above the average should be at least 110 thousand rubles per month, and this for the province. Based on the above calculations, only one question is asked: what is the quality of school protection today, if it is forced to provide it for an amount that is three times less than what is minimum necessary for it?
I have only one short conclusion from all the above - there is no system of security of educational and other institutions with mass stay of children in our country today. Nor should we expect such a system to emerge in the near future, as we greatly underestimate the real level of this threat.


I 'll explain the last phrase a little bit. I am sure that the real level of this threat is well understood by specialists. However, as is customary in our country, the problem is not being solved. Instead, it will be masked in every way, and it will be done until a large-scale tragedy happens, after which it will continue to pretend that nothing is happening is simply impossible. The units of analysis and forecasting of threats in the system of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation have long existed only formally, most of them are engaged in drawing up useless plans from a practical point of view, writing similar in value certificates, collecting from this accumulative cases and creating huge paper archives, 99% of which are valuable only as waste paper.



What to do?
The answer to this question, I think, is quite simple - if there is no system, then it needs to be created. The problem is that there is no experience of effectively countering such threats in our country, as this phenomenon is quite new for Russia. Therefore, I addressed the work of our foreign colleagues in this matter. In the previous article, we reviewed school safety in the United States.


Why USA? Let me remind you that the concept of «School Shooter,» as well as the dangerous adolescent subculture associated with it, came to Russia from there. It should also be borne in mind that the United States law enforcement agencies faced this phenomenon much earlier than other countries and, accordingly, have gained more practical experience in countering this threat. In addition, the school safety system itself in the United States is not unified and universal, and in every state (and sometimes city) it is unique in its own way. This allows one country to consider and compare several systems at once, and also, using statistics, to assess the effectiveness of their application.


Of all the American school safety systems that have been found in open sources, two in Los Angeles and New York deserve attention. In the first part of the article, we reviewed them in sufficient detail and made a comparison from which I concluded that, from a practical point of view, the system used in New York was of greatest interest. I am sure that, if properly refined, such a system could be used in Russia, and I think it could be used successfully.
Let me briefly remind you that school safety in the New York Police Department has been the responsibility of a special department, the School Safety Division (SSD), for more than 20 years. This division consists of three units:
- Police patrol officers who patrol school areas and provide rapid response to incidents in educational institutions;
- School Safety Agents, which provide protection directly within schools, as well as monitoring compliance with access and intra-object regimes;
- School Crossing Guards, which ensure the safety of students on roads adjacent to schools, through additional control on pedestrian crossings and sidewalks.
Exactly how the scheme of interaction between the school security units and the New York Police Department is built, I cannot say for sure. I could not find information about this in open sources. Although I quite assume that this information may be closed (which is most likely), so our American colleagues did not share it.


I did try to find this out, for which I sent several letters to the NYPD, but it has been a few months, but not one of the letters has ever received a response, although notifications that the letters were received by the addressee came on the day they were sent. Letters sent to the Association of Russian-Speaking Law Enforcement Officers of the United States RAOA (there is also such), as well as to the American Embassy, where there is a special department for law enforcement relations, also went unanswered.


I can assume that the school safety system provided by SSD is built on the creation of several levels of protection, both external and internal, where each of the structural units of the department performs its functions. The actions of all units are interconnected in such a way that together they form a single effective mechanism, forming both within and around the school a kind of «security zone» against most possible threats, both intentional and unintentional.
This approach can hypothetically be used in our country. Why hypothetically? For two reasons. The first: this security system is built on the foundation of the municipal (local) police, which is not present in our country, and in the near future will not be. This is quite clearly indicated by the policy of aggressive opposition to its creation by both the State and society. About the second reason I will tell in the final part of the article. In this regard, in this publication we will consider only the conditional possibility of creating such a security system for educational institutions in Russia.

Objectives, functions, structure, forces and means:
The main goal is to minimize the risk of serious crimes, terrorist acts in schools, as well as other emergencies that threaten the life and health of people. Or minimize damage when it is not possible to prevent such incidents.
For this purpose it is necessary: at the local (urban district) level in the structure of municipal (local) police it is necessary to create (let us call conditional) - Department of ensuring safety of educational institutions (hereinafter - ESD). You can use a format similar to that used for SSD in NYPD as a template for the organizational structure.
The main task for this department in fact is specified in its name, the main objects of its activity should be institutions of primary, secondary and secondary vocational education.


Should preschool and higher education institutions be included in this list? The question is rather complex, and it should be answered by the local authorities, taking into account their capabilities. However, the tragic precedent in 2019 in the city of Naryan Mare clearly indicates that there is a need for it.


The ESD shall have 3 structural subdivisions (names are conditional):
1. Company of rapid response;
2. Company of specialized protection;
3. Road Safety Department.
Now about each of the departments in more detail.
All calculations of the number of units have been made for approximately a conditional city with a population of 450-500 thousand inhabitants, where there are 50 municipal educational institutions of primary and secondary education.

Operational Response Company (hereinafter ORC):
The staffing level is based on 1 mobile patrol of 3 personnel per 4-5 educational institutions. Thus, 10-12 crews must step into the shift every day.
The service schedule is one-shift, 6 days per week, the total duration of the shift is 13.5 hours, of which the time of direct stay on the route is 12.5 hours. Patrols are on their routes between 06.30 and 20.00. The total strength of the company should be 75 employees, including:
- Command and officer personnel - 3 employees (company commander -1, platoon commander - 2);
- Private and non-commissioned officers (patrol police) - 72 officers.

Specialized Security Company (hereinafter SSC):
The staffing level is determined on the basis of 2 employees (with schedule 2/2) per 1 educational institution of the protected category. Every day, 50 employees must step in.
The service schedule is one-shift, 6 days per week, the total duration of the shift is 13 hours, of which 12 hours are directly on site. Employees serve at security posts between 07.00 and 20.00.
- Command and officer personnel - 3 employees (company commander - 1, company deputy commander - 1, platoon commander - 2);
- Officers of the Specialized Security Service of the Municipal Police Department - 100 officers.

Department of Road Traffic Safety (hereinafter DRTS):
The standard number is determined on the basis of the number of unregulated pedestrian crossings and «dangerous» sections of the roadway near the educational institution of the protected category. Such sections and crossings will be about 70, so 70-75 regulators should step into the shift every day.
The working conditions and category of employees here must be different. Given that the tasks assigned to them do not include prompt response or direct involvement in the elimination of threats, these should be non-certified personnel.
The work schedule of the employees of this unit is also not quite standard. In fact, regulators are involved in the direct performance of duties 4 hours a day, but these hours are separated in this way: 1 hour in the morning, 2 hours in the afternoon and 1 hour in the evening. Accordingly, that work (and rather even sub-work) in such a schedule is more suitable for older people, more precisely for a certain part of them, namely veterans of law enforcement agencies. The bet on this category of employees is made, including for other reasons to which we will return in the continuation of the article.

These units build three security lines:
Boundary No. 1 (distant)
At this turn, the service is carried out by the staff of the DRTS, they carry out two main tasks:
Task 1: While on pedestrian crossings of highways located near schools, they ensure the safety of students who go to school or return home. With their demonstration presence, they monitor traffic compliance by both vehicle drivers and pedestrians.
Task 2: By regulating traffic on their routes towards schools, staff visually monitor the situation near schools. Pedestrians are recorded - both children and adults, as well as motor vehicles moving towards the school, using skills of behavior analysis, identify persons worthy of increased attention. Information about such persons is immediately transmitted to the nearest crew of ORC.
DRTS employees are dressed in special uniforms equipped with additional bright and retro-reflective elements. They are equipped with radio or other special communication facilities, video recorders, bars with retro-reflective elements, light and sound alarm devices, as well as first aid kits.
DRTS officers are not armed and the use of personal, civilian self-defence firearms in their service is also prohibited. Of the entire arsenal of special means, they are allowed to carry an electric shock device or an aerosol package of tear gas, and thus only as a means of personal self-defence.

Boundary No. 2.
At this turn, the service is carried out by ORC staff, the list of their tasks is much wider:
Task 1: Being on patrol routes near schools and other places that make up the «features of the route,» they ensure public order, protection of students from illegal actions of people and attack of aggressive animals. Through their demonstration presence, they prevent crimes and administrative offences on patrol routes.
Task 2: Visually monitor the situation near schools. Pedestrians are fixed (as children. So adults), as well as moving towards school motor vehicles, using skills of behavior analysis, identify persons worthy of increased attention. Such persons are stopped, their identity, documents are checked, if necessary, personal inspection is carried out, as well as inspection of carried items (bags, backpacks, cases, etc.) and motor vehicles. Such checks are carried out on the basis of information transmitted by DRTS officers, other law enforcement agencies (services), as well as citizens.
Task 3: To respond promptly to reports of unlawful acts and other incidents that pose a direct threat to the life and health of citizens (including those of a natural and man-made nature) occurring in the territory, as well as in the vicinity of educational institutions. They go to reports about the operation of alarm devices in educational institutions on the patrol route.
Task 4: Assist DRTS and SSC employees in the execution of their tasks, interact with the juvenile affairs officers of the territorial division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.

Boundary No. 3. (main)
At this turn, the service is carried out by members of the Specialized Security Unit (SSC). Their posts are located directly in schools, and they have a full list of tasks to ensure the safety and health of students, teachers and other workers, as well as the property of the educational institution. It is these officers who ensure compliance with the security regime (including checkpoints and intra-site regimes), both in the main building and in the surrounding area.
In addition to the security function, these officers are entrusted with a number of relevant police tasks within the school, close interaction with the management, psychologist, and social teacher of the educational institution, as well as with the juvenile affairs officers of the territorial division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.
It is these officers who are intended to replace the security guards of private security companies and the organizations currently entrusted with this function. It is important to understand that unlike private guards, SSC officers are police officers, though municipal. And this status, in addition to a wider range of opportunities, poses a greater number of challenges to them and makes their area of responsibility much wider.
These are specific (police) tasks that SSC officers will have to perform at a fixed site. I will not disclose the details of this work, as they are directly related to closed aspects of police work. The Deputy Commander of the Service Unit should be responsible for organizing such work. Only former employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, with experience in the work of territorial (land) units of the criminal police, should be considered as a candidate for this position.

How this system works
Its basic principle is to create the maximum possible number of obstacles in the attacker 's way to the object of his criminal intent. The more difficult this path will be for him, the more likely he will be to be stopped before he has time to realize his wrongful intentions. Today, as practice shows, «School shooters» does not stop anything. They quietly reach educational institutions with weapons and explosives, easily penetrate inside and carry out the intended. The main purpose of the proposed system is to change the current state of affairs by creating and placing barriers in the way of the offender.
The first obstacle for him should be the «zero» (he is a hidden) border of security. This threshold increases the probability that, thanks to the tacit activities carried out by the staff of the SSC together with psychologists and social teachers of the school, as well as the staff of the JPU of the territorial department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, a potential shooter or terrorist * will be identified in preparation for the crime.


* Although some don 't see the difference, I do tend to separate these two types of criminals by their motivation. For the School Shooter, mass murder is a way of expressing itself, guided by his own understandable goals and trying to convey only his personal message to others. A terrorist commits a crime on the basis of a specific ideology and has the purposes that the extremist ideology (or organization) has.


We have not yet faced terrorist attacks in educational institutions committed by single terrorists in our country, but unfortunately we will soon face. Trends suggest that international terrorist organizations rely on such a way of committing terrorist acts.
The second barrier for the offender should be security milestone No. 1.
When the offender is advanced to his/her purpose, he/she is highly likely to have to pass in the places where the DRTS officers serve. And therefore, there is a great chance that they will notice in the flow of people moving in the direction of school, a person who by his behavior gives reason to assume his criminal intentions.
The next barrier for the offender is the security milestone No. 2.
If the offender still manages to bypass the posts of DRTS officers, there is a high probability that he will come to the attention of ORC officers patrolling (in the «free search» mode) the territories adjacent to educational institutions and on the routes of active movement of students. Patrols of this unit have the same tasks as DRTS officers: using professional skills, to identify in the human flow people whose behavior indicates their criminal intentions. Also respond to information about such persons obtained from other sources.
Immediately I want to get ahead of the skeptics "arguments that filtering the human flow in order to identify persons with suspicious behavior, using behavioral analysis methods, is ineffective, and an experienced criminal will easily bypass it. I won 't mind, it really is, if it comes to a professional. Here we deal with completely different actors, those for whom this crime is the first, and in most cases, the last in their lives. If it is «School Shooter,» the final of his planned action is usually suicide. If the attack is, the perpetrator of it, in most cases, will also be a suicide bomber. Simply put, in both cases we deal with diletants, professionals can participate in the planning and preparation of such crimes, but not in their execution. Accordingly, it is not necessary to talk about any professional cold blood and self-control of the two categories of criminals. Often everything is just the opposite - their behavior contains a large number of external signs of what they have intended. And if people are in their way who are able to recognize and neutralize a possible threat, dozens, if not hundreds, of lives on that day are likely to be saved. It is important to maximize the likelihood of crossing their tracks.
If the criminal manages to overcome all previous security borders, another border, the main one, will remain on his way. These are members of the Specialized Security Unit, which is responsible for providing security directly on the school grounds. It is on their shoulders that the greatest responsibility falls, and it is up to them to solve the most difficult tasks: to prevent the offender from realizing his criminal intent, to stop him before people suffer, to quickly neutralize the threat and its consequences, or to minimize them.
All this requires the employee entrusted with this work to have certain personal qualities and a high level of professional training, so these officers must necessarily belong to the certified composition of the municipal police.

The planned result:
Provided that the system is fully implemented, the main result should be a significant reduction in the number of particularly serious crimes (terrorism, murder, hostage-taking, serious bodily harm, etc.) committed against students and workers in the territory and near educational institutions.
The secondary result should be a significant drop in the level of ordinary crime in schools: a decrease in the number of theft, robbery, extortion, hooliganism, as well as a significant reduction in the distribution of narcotic, psychotropic and other prohibited substances in the territory of educational institutions.
In addition, a significant decrease in the number of children killed and injured in road traffic accidents should be an equally important result.


In the 10 months of 2019 alone, 519 children were killed and more than 20,000 injured in road traffic accidents in Russia. The data are taken from the official website of the traffic police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.



Some issues of recruitment and training of staff of the Educational Security Division
In the staff training system, in addition to standard police disciplines, an important emphasis should be placed on training in behaviour analysis. To date, in the Vocational Training Centers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation with employees of line divisions this direction is studied only surface, in the program of training it is given from 8 to 12 hours. Here this direction should become dominant, both at the stage of initial preparation and in the future - in the system of service training and advanced training. This is especially important for DRTS employees, as they are the first, far border of security. By them passes the main flow of people, which moves towards schools, accordingly, the better the staff of the DRTS will be able to identify in this flow persons with signs of criminal intentions, the more effective the protection will be.
I noted earlier that when recruiting the DRTS, preference should be given to retired veterans of law enforcement agencies, first of all former employees of line units. The fact is that during the years of service on the street, in constant contact with people, they have formed their own kind of internal detector, thanks to which they manage by the slightest details in behavior to identify the attacker in the flow of people. Adding to this additional training in behaviour analysis will greatly enhance their professional skills and thus greatly improve their performance.
In addition, serious attention should be paid to psychological training and negotiating tactics, and to dealing with natural and man-made emergencies.
All these features should be included in the initial training of the staff of these units, as well as in the training programmes. Constantly a practical training, drills and trainings on working off of various introduction have to be staged.
Analysis and forecasting units should constantly study and analyse Russian and international experience in ensuring the safety of facilities with mass stay of children. All possible information on potential threats and their scenarios should be considered and taken into account, and the day-to-day tasks and duties of the personnel should be adjusted accordingly.

Instead of an epilog
In conclusion, yes, I am fully aware that the draft contained in the article will never be implemented in our country. There are many reasons for that, here are the main ones:
1. As I said earlier, it is designed for implementation in the system of municipal (local) police. In Russia at the moment there is no such service, and there are no trends to its emergence in the near future.
2. It is not beneficial to local government officials because its implementation will require them to take responsibility for the safety of people. This is what our officials try to avoid by any means.
3. What I have already said many times in other articles is «Public Pathology.» The attempt to implement the project will cause an avalanche of criticism in the media and social networks. Citizens, and especially the active part of «network experts,» will prove with foam at the mouth that it is too expensive, and such expenses are not justified, and the proposed measures are absolutely ineffective.
However, after another tragedy, the same «experts» with such activity will argue that the cause of the tragedy was criminal inaction and the absence of effective measures to prevent and counter such threats.
The main purpose of writing this article for me was to show that any problem is solved if you change the approach to its solution. Not to engage, as is common in any situation, in the appointment of the guilty, but to try at least once to understand the real reasons and focus efforts on finding ways to prevent the recurrence of such tragedies in the future. To realize that there is nothing wrong with learning or adopting something useful from other countries.
Learning from international experience is the basis upon which effective systems to counter such threats are developed. Consider carefully what other countries have in this direction, choose the best, refine under the domestic specificity taking into account the proposals of our specialists, and then introduce. But it is important not to stop there, it is necessary to constantly and carefully monitor the progress of the new system, analyze and identify weaknesses, predict likely threats, improve and refine it on the basis of these forecasts. In this case, we could create the world 's best security system for facilities with mass stay of children, which would be studied in other countries.
But it does not appear that the time has yet come to stop being afraid to create and introduce something new. Yes, no one is immune from mistakes, but the price of mistakes of this system is only money, because it is built on an empty place. But for further inaction in this issue we will continue to pay for the lives and health of children.

date of publication - February 22, 2020
photo taken from the site «Nika» TV company



I want to express huge gratitude for the help in writing of this and other articles to Semyon Yulianov. In the blog Semyon states the opinion of current problems in activity of law enforcement agencies of our country and shares stories from own practice. In its articles objective and critical judgments well mix up with venomous comments and flashing humour. I am personally familiar with Semyon many years, this is the Professional from capital letter, more than a quarter of the century given to service in bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Prosecutor's office.














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ATTENTION
the text is translated by means of technical means of the translation
original language of the text – Russian
some words and phrases can be translated not correctly and not correspond to original sense


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