"We installed the new access control system just last year... speakers, cameras, remotely locked door controls and even put ballistic glass on the outside set of doors. We are now a fortress. No more worries. Until the morning an estranged ex-husband of one of our teachers decided he was going to drive his 1998 GMC pick-up truck through our main entrance. Cameras didn't stop him, speakers didn't stop him, even our ballistic glass (which cost a fortune) didn't stop him. He just drove in. Guess he was inspired by the rash of European vehicular terrorist attacks that are featured on the evening news or maybe the two guys that ran into the local convenience store with their truck in order to haul away the free standing ATM machine. Fortunately the police arrived before he could hurt anyone but wow he demolished the entrance and got right into our school."
For years I have been asked about installing vehicular bollards in front of schools. With virtually no documented cases to support the expense I have directed schools to spend security dollars on other initiatives. However I think it time to have that conversation. Terrorists are beginning to use vehicles to ram into crowds of people and buildings again. I believe it is only a matter of time until this trend makes its way to the United States.
Now there are many options for these bollards and they don't have to look like Fort Knox. In Washington D.C. many of these bollards are hidden within large planters or light posts that provide an aesthetic enhancement to the entrance compared to the stark yellow painted bollards you may see at your neighborhood gas station protecting the pumps.
I'm not saying that everyone needs to run out and install vehicular bollards tomorrow, but it should be on your radar. If you are building new, renovating or wishing to enhance your school entrances in the next few years vehicular bollards should be on your short list.
Until then if you would receive a threat or intelligence about a possible vehicular attack on your building parking a school bus or maintenance vehicles in front of your entrances will serve as a good temporary barricade. During the Presidential Election you may have noticed the U.S. Secret Service placed dump trucks filled with sand in front of Trump Towers until a more permanent solution could be found. Until next time this is John Baker for safetysolutions4schools.com.