school shooters, terrorism, crimes against the person, property, sexual integrity of children, how to withstand these and other threats, analysis of foreign experience, a project of an integrated system for ensuring safety and security in schools, other educational institutions, as well as in places with mass presence of children, the principle of work, goals, tasks, structure, forces, means, prospects, planned result
Ensuring the safety and security of schools, other educational institutions and places with a mass stay of children
Note: it should be borne in mind that the author lives and works in Russia, so in this article, he considers the situation on the example of his country. Measures to ensure the safety of schools, other educational institutions and places with a mass stay of children that he proposes are developed by him for use in Russia, taking into account the existing law enforcement system and the situation there.
I began work on a project to ensure the safety of schools and other educational institutions immediately after the events that occurred on October 17, 2018 at the Polytechnic College of Kerch. Then a terrible tragedy occurred, in which 20 people were killed and another 67 people were injured of varying severity. On that day, for the first time in Russia, they faced such a terrible phenomenon of modernity as mass executions in educational institutions with such monstrous consequences.
This tragedy was predictable, it was not difficult to predict that crimes of similar tragedy would occur in Russia at the Columbine School on April 20, 199. The fact is that since 2014, there have been at least five such cases in Russian educational institutions: in Moscow, Ivanteyevka, Perm, Ulan-Ud and Sterlitamak. These are only those incidents where the criminals managed to realize their plans, in addition to the above, there were several more facts when such crimes were prevented at the preparation stage. These cases were less significant in scope and consequences, but were obvious precursors of the great tragedy, and it occurred. The massacre at the Kerch Polytechnic College brought this threat to a new level in Russia, to which neither the education system nor law enforcement agencies were completely unprepared. Therefore, the quite logical result of this was that soon, the events in Kerch were continued, first at a school in the city of Kazan, then at the University of Perm.
These tragedies once again clearly demonstrated the complete defencelessness of schools, other educational institutions and places with a mass stay of children, before criminals and terrorists. Each time after the next attack, meetings, discussions, meetings of headquarters and commissions are held, plans and decisions are developed, but a new tragedy occurs and again the chronology of events shows that the same vulnerabilities were used by the criminals as the previous time. This situation calls into question the effectiveness of the existing system of ensuring the safety of schools and other institutions with a mass stay of children, but more often another question is raised - does this system exist in our country at all? Judging by the current situation - either not at all, or it is not effective.
Only one conclusion can be drawn from the analysis of the above situation - initially underestimating the level of threat, we missed the moment when it could be predicted and stopped at the stage of emergence and development, now the counteraction scheme needs to be rebuilt and done differently, dividing the work into two main areas:
1. A system of prediction, detection at an early stage, and prevention.
2. System of deterrence and suppression.
In the first direction, this is a task for psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists and teachers. It will not work quickly to build this system, according to the experts to whom I turned, it will take at least years, and most likely decades. The fact is that there is no serious scientific base in this area in Russia yet, years of work, hundreds of studies and experiments are needed.
In the second direction, too, everything needs to start from the very beginning. I will present my version of how this can be done in the second part of my study. I do not set the goal of finding the answer to the question – «Who is to blame?», My task is to find the answer to another question – «What to do?», And how exactly should this be done?
Part 1. Foreign experience
I began studying foreign experience in countering threats in educational institutions from America. Why? The fact is that the very concept: «School shooting» and with it the movement of fans of the tragedy at the Columbine school, came to us from the USA, where they encountered this phenomenon in the last century. What was the first case and where it occurred is difficult to say now, there is no consensus here, but most American criminologists consider the massacre at the Olean school, committed on December 30, 1974, when a 17-year-old student, using a firearm, killed three people and injured eleven more. Over the almost half-century history of massacres in schools, it is the United States, where most such cases occurred, today has the largest amount of scientific research and experience, both in studying this phenomenon and in developing ways to counter.
Consider two questions:
1. How are American schools safe?
2. Are there positive systems in schools and other educational institutions in the United States to prevent and suppress mass killings? If so, what?
On the first question, in most cases, I did not find anything special in ensuring the protection of educational institutions. These are mainly standard measures: a metal detector at the entrance, a private guard (most often not armed), a video surveillance system, security alarms, and in some schools, there is not even the above. However, each school has its own «Security Protocol» (everywhere different names are used, I chose the most common one), which establishes a detailed algorithm for the actions of teachers and students in various emergencies, including in cases of mass killings. This protocol is constantly studied in special classes, periodically, during exercises and training, practical skills are developed.
Note: in the USA, in terms of ensuring the safety of schools and other educational institutions, there are no uniform, binding standards and rules. This is a feature of their state structure - each state, and often each city, independently decides how and how to ensure the safety of educational institutions. They do what they can afford within their financial capabilities.
On the websites of the FBI and the US Department of Education there are many materials related to ensuring the safety of schools, but all of them are rather advisory in nature.
On the second question, I was lucky, I managed to find more information. In two major American megacities: New York and Los Angeles, I managed to find examples of a special approach to ensuring the security of educational institutions, specialized police services are responsible for this, consider them in more detail, first individually, and then compare.
New York City
here, The New York City Police Department School Safety Division (NYPD SSD) is responsible for the safety of educational institutions, but the residents of the metropolis themselves more often call this service «school police».
Since 1998, NYPD SSD has been a structural unit of the New York Police Department, before that it was part of the city Department of Education (however, the issue of returning School Safety Division to the Department of Education is currently being considered).
note: in the United States, all police have local subordination, such a concept as a single state police simply does not exist there. For example, the New York Police Department, which we are considering in this case, is a structural unit of the city hall. The Commissioner of the City Police (the highest official) is appointed to the post and removed from it by the decision of the Mayor of New York. The city police is financed entirely from the city budget. In fact, the entire NYPD is municipal. Around the same principle, the police are organized and operate in other American cities.
Now NYPD SSD is rather large, structural unit of the New York City Police Department which number of staff is more than 5000 so-called agents of safety today, their positions are called School Safety Agents (SSA abbreviation is more often used) and 200 police officers (police officers).
Most SSD officers do not have full police status, but despite this, they wear a uniform similar to the police (only the color of the shirt differs), and SSA is also vested with almost all police powers. They can: detain and bring to the police station, carry out personal searches, limit the suspect's rights, use physical force and special means if necessary. Also in the SSA arsenal there is a special transport, with police coloring and special light and sound signals.
The main task of SSA employees is to ensure the personal safety of students and employees of New York municipal schools, as well as the protection of their property. Agents provide access to the school, screening students and visitors for the transfer of weapons or other prohibited items to the school. In addition, they patrol the surrounding area in order to prevent thefts, attempts at illegal entry, vandalism and other illegal actions. Another objective of SSA is to ensure that school and children are not approached by persons subject to an injunction*.
* note: in the United States, there is such a type of restriction on rights as the prohibition of appearing in certain places or even approaching them closer than a certain distance, regardless of the time of day. Often such prohibitions are imposed on persons previously convicted or suspected of crimes against children, they are forbidden to approach schools, kindergartens, playgrounds and other children's institutions.
In addition to the NYPD SSD, the NYPD has another unit directly related to the safety of school students, this is - School Crossing Guard (SCG). Officers of this unit, dressed in uniform (similar to the police), exercise control at pedestrian crossings near schools and regulate the movement of vehicles in these sections, ensuring the safety of children when crossing the roadway. Despite the fact that the SCG is a structural unit of the New York Police Department, its employees, unlike the NYPD SSD, are not police or agents, this unit is completely civilian. Judging by the SCG section on the NYPD website, for employment there is not even a need to have a secondary education, it is enough to know English well, get an interview, take a drug test and finish a six-day course at the police academy.
here, the Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD) is responsible for school safety. According to open sources, the staffing of this service is slightly more than 500 staff, this applies to the number of certified personnel with the status of police officers, in addition to them there are unattested personnel.
If we compare with New York, then in terms of departmental affiliation, the opposite is true, despite its name, LASPD is not part of the city police structure, but refers to the city education department. However, this does not prevent LASPD from being a full-fledged police service, which includes:
- patrol units;
- Criminal Investigation Unit;
- special forces detachment;
- canine department;
- Public Relations and other law enforcement agencies;
- Psychological support department (including negotiators);
- training center.
Based on the structure of the units, LASPD, unlike its colleagues from NYPD SSD, is a more autonomous service, capable of independently solving all tasks, without involving other police units. This is a good or poorly complex issue, such a design with all visible advantages has a number of serious shortcomings, but this is a topic for separate discussion. Otherwise, the staff structures and principles of the Los Angeles and New York school police are similar. School Safety Officer (SSO) employees are engaged in the protection of educational institutions using stationary posts in LASPD, they do not belong to the certified composition and do not have police status, in their functionality they are almost no different from NYPD SSD security agents. As in New York, there is no separate unit for controlling student safety on roads and parking lots in LASPD, this task is assigned to SSO and patrol officers.
The main forces of the certified personnel are patrol units, their main function is to strengthen the police presence near schools and other educational institutions within their area of responsibility. This ensures effective prevention, suppression of crimes and administrative offenses, and due to patrol routes close to schools, high speed of response to reports of incidents in educational institutions. LASPD employees belonging to the certified composition are serving with official firearms. Given the presence of its own operational-search unit and special forces in LASPD, they can not only prevent, but also suppress threats of both criminal and terrorist nature.
Which model is more efficient, LASPD or NYPD SSD?
If we compare the effectiveness of ensuring the safety of schools, for existing incidents, then here their indicators are identical. According to FBI statistics *, between 2000 and 2019, 58 mass killings (including assassinations) were recorded in US educational institutions, of which 43 occurred in schools. New York is mentioned once in this report: on February 09, 2004, an incident at Columbia High School - one school teacher was injured and a shooter was detained. In Los Angeles, during this period, there was also the only case of mass violence at school. At the same time, for some reason he did not get into the FBI report, possibly due to the fact that the suspect at the time of the crime did not reach the age of criminal responsibility. We are talking about an incident that occurred on February 1, 2018 at the Salvador Castro Middle School, where five students were injured. The shooter was a student of this school, a girl of twelve years old, who was detained.
In my opinion, the model used by NYPD SSD is more promising, such an organization and activity system is more consistent with the level of modern threats. Why?
First, School Safety Division is a fully police unit that is a structural unit of the New York Police Department. Direct police affiliation provides the NYPD SSD with significantly more security capabilities. First of all, this is access to information resources, which the police department has much more than the education department.
Secondly, the organization of school security in the New York police has a greater territorial coverage, due to the additional level of security located on the far approaches to the educational institution. This level is provided by regulators from the SCG, who every school day, when children go to classes, are on duty at intersections and pedestrian crossings located on the most intensive traffic routes, students on the way to school and back. At first glance, it seems that these people simply control the observance of traffic rules by drivers and children, stop transport to give schoolchildren the opportunity to safely cross the road, but this is only the outside of their work. Let me remind you that, unlike other cities, in New York road regulators are, although unattested, police officers, so in addition to ensuring a high level of safety on the roads, near schools, they perform another, very important task, namely, the first line of external surveillance and identification of potential dangers. I did not attend the training of SCG employees, but I am sure that in addition to monitoring the road situation, they are tasked with visual surveillance of suspicious persons and vehicles near schools. This is done in close cooperation with NYPD SSD patrols, which at the same time patrol areas close to educational institutions, while also performing the functions of a mobile rapid response force for signals and incidents. Due to such a scheme (patrol + road controllers), the likelihood that a potential criminal or terrorist will be identified and neutralized before he enters the school is significantly increased.
Further, already directly inside the educational institutions, the safety of life and health of students, teachers, support personnel, as well as the safety of property are ensured by SSA agents. Who, upon receiving information from the same regulators or patrolmen, about suspicious people moving in the direction of the school, will have time to take measures to limit access to the territory or to the premises. To this, I would also add an unspoken operational cover for schools, which is provided by specialized police units with specific tasks (let's call it that).
The complex produces a simple, but at the same time quite effective model of the school security system. A system consisting of three frontiers, two of which are external, and this, in this case, is of paramount importance. External borders allow you to identify and neutralize the offender even before he reaches the school building - this significantly reduces the risk that accidental people will suffer from his actions, or during his neutralization. LASPD in its system of ensuring the security of schools and other educational institutions builds only two lines, external and internal. But at the same time, LASPD compensates for the absence of the first of the external borders, a higher patrol density. According to open sources, the staff of the NYPD SSD police patrol officers is about 200 people, in the area of responsibility, of which 1700 schools, LASPD patrol officers have twice as many, with fewer (about 1300) number of educational institutions served.
Statistics confirm that both (in many respects similar) models are functional and effective. But, I repeat, more promising, I consider the model used by the New York Police Department.
Is it possible to use the experience of the United States in creating a system for the safety and security of schools in other countries? Pros and cons.
(note: the author considers the situation on the example of Russia)
I believe that the system of safety and security of schools and other educational institutions, which are used in such American megacities as New York and Los Angeles, can be used in our country, with some refinement and creation of the necessary conditions. To this I would like to add that this model can not only be copied and adapted to our conditions, it can also be significantly improved, increasing efficiency.
Unfortunately, at the moment in Russia, the creation of such a system is impossible. The fact is that this model does not have a legal basis, it is built on the foundation of the municipal (local) police service, which is not in our country and will not appear in the near future.
* note: in Russia, the police is an integral part of the Ministry of the Interior and is under its exclusive control. The National Guard is a separate federal service. The system of police and national guard management is built according to a single, vertical principle. Local governments of cities, regions, districts and even individual republics have no influence on them. There are no police services of local subordination in Russia.
In this regard, I propose to consider only the theoretical probability: let's imagine that there is a legal basis, and the proposed model is put forward for wide discussion, what will skeptics and critics say in this case? I think that, in the final, everything will converge on two main arguments, here they are:
1. Such a model is not perfect, the effectiveness of its use is doubtful.
2. Creating such a system and using it is too expensive.
As for the first statement, I agree to 100%, perfect and invulnerable security systems do not exist. To any, even the most technically perfect castle, you can pick up a tag. However, despite this, no one refuses locks on the doors of the premises and safes. The main task of any security system is to make it as difficult as possible for the offender to achieve the goal, increase the chances that he will be detained even before he can overcome this system, and if he manages, he will not have time to fulfill his plan, because he will be stopped. Doubts about the effectiveness of using this model in our country can also be agreed. Everything new, not tested in practice, always raises reasonable doubts. Successful experience of use in other countries does not always mean that it will be so in Russia.
Therefore, as I said earlier, this model is interesting as a good idea that can be taken as a basis, studied in detail, especially the experience of its practical application. Further, based on it, develop its own, adapted, improved and usable model in our country. After that, it will need to be tested in practice. This is best done in the form of an experiment, in one single region or even a city. There are no other ways here, only practice will show the real level of its effectiveness and reveal existing and potential vulnerabilities. It is important that when conducting such an experiment in no hurry, the system should work at least 3 years after its launch, only after that it will be possible to evaluate preliminary results.
In this case, the risk is minimal, because today in Russia there is no effective security system for schools and other educational institutions. It exists only formally, «on paper», in the form of protocols and decisions of various kinds of councils, commissions, meetings, etc. However, in fact, all that schools can count on are private security officers at the entrance, and minimal technical security equipment. Which are not everywhere serviceable, but where serviceable, most often not used.
The quality of school protection by private security companies could be described separately, but this is too long. I just explain that the security company that will protect schools is chosen in accordance with Federal Law No. 44-FZ, simply put - the one who offers the minimum price for his services wins. Minimal! I am sure that to realize who today is entrusted with the safety of schools in our country, this is quite enough.
With regard to the second paragraph, the statistics of tragedies, not only in our country, but throughout the world, so far only confirm the relevance of the statement that everything that has been saved on ensuring the safety of people is subsequently spent on compensating for the tragic consequences of such savings.
You don't need to spend a lot of time looking for examples, the statistics clearly show everything:
- 2014, the city of Moscow, 2 dead, 1 was injured;
- 2017, Ivanteevka village, 4 were injured;
- 2018, the city of Perm, 9 were injured;
- 2018, the city of Sosnovy Bor (Republic of Buryatia as part of the Russian Federation), 7 were injured;
- 2018, the city of Sterlitamak, 4 were injured;
- 2018, the city of Kerch, 20 dead, 65 were injured;
- 2019, the city of Blagoveshchensk, 1 deceased, 3 were injured;
- 2019, the city of Volsk, 1 was injured;
- 2021, the city of Kazan, 9 dead, 32 were injured;
- 2021, the city of Perm, 6 dead, 47 were injured.
This list is not complete, some of such crimes were prevented at the preparation stage. Several such facts were revealed in 2020 and 2021, we can say that in this case the coronavirus pandemic saved many lives due to quarantined schools.
To the list of massacres, you can add another, with a lot of events. This is a list of incidents in educational institutions when the causes of injuries, students and teachers were hooliganism or an accident. These events combine one common feature, all of them were committed using weapons that were freely carried to school, and there are hundreds of such cases nationwide.
Unfortunately, mass killings are far from the only and most dangerous threat to educational institutions and other places with a mass stay of children. In the modern world, such threats are increasing every year, these are terrorism, ordinary crimes against the person and property (theft, robbery, extortion, beatings, hooliganism, fraud, etc.), and crimes against the sexual integrity of children that have significantly intensified in recent years. Separately, it is worth considering the situation related to traffic accidents in 2020 alone, 15,170 cases of accidents involving minors were recorded, in which 502 children died and 16,675 were injured of varying severity (source: stat.gibdd.ru). And this is 2020, when there was an active phase of the pandemic, serious restrictions were imposed on the free movement of citizens and vehicles, for comparison in 2019 the number of accidents was 24% higher, 10% dead, 23% injured.
This is the price our children pay today for budget savings, and unfortunately, for the coming decades, there is no reason for optimistic forecasts, the number of threats will only grow.
I would also like to ask a question to those who believe that safety is expensive and burdensome for the budget: How much does it cost a child's life and health? Economic feasibility is calculated using a simple formula - the final goal and the cost of achieving it, and then the proportionality of the planned result to the resources spent on achieving it is estimated. The planned result, in this case, is the safety of children, the preservation of their lives and health. So how much does it cost? This is addressed to those who say that the costs of this are not justified.
Output on 1 part:
The world around us is changing and becoming more and more dangerous, this, unfortunately, is a reality, although unpleasant. Question: What can we oppose? Currently, in our country, the security of educational institutions is in most cases ensured formally, at the most primitive level. Concepts such as a complex (multi-level) or simply a security system exist only on paper, in the form of various plans, reports and references. The implementation of direct tasks to protect the life and health of children is generally entrusted to private security organizations. And as practice clearly shows, this «system» does not create special problems for attackers.
For a general understanding of the situation, it is enough to know on what principle the selection of security organizations for these tasks is carried out. This is done in accordance with Federal Law No. 44-FZ, simply put - the one who offers the minimum price for his services wins. At the same time, no one thinks about whether the protection can be of high quality if the cheapest of all possible options was chosen?
A direct result of this approach was the tragedies in Kerch, Kazan, Perm and other cities, if someone thinks that something has changed after these tragedies, then, alas, not. A clear confirmation of this is the tragic incident that occurred on October 11, 2021 in Lyceum No. 51 of the city of Makhachkala, where, during a fight between two students, one snatched a knife and killed the other. As well as the incident on October 18, 2021, in the village of Sars, Perm Territory, where one of the students fired from hunting weapons, only thanks to a happy coincidence did no one get hurt. Let us leave aside the motives and consider only the actual side of the events, and it is such that students calmly brought cold and firearms to school, and used them. It seems to me that there is nothing to comment on here, everything is obvious.
How to change the situation?
I am sure that we should begin by acknowledging the very existence of the threat. It is necessary to stop living in a world of illusions and realize that over the past forty years the world around us has changed a lot, and it has not changed at all for the better. The number of different threats has increased significantly, and children are especially vulnerable to them, because due to their age and insufficient life experience, they are not yet able to cope with these threats on their own. You can endlessly talk about the mores of modern society and indulge in memories of the past, only this will not change anything. Therefore, our politicians, security officials, journalists and, most importantly, citizens themselves have long made a choice. He is simple, or continue to pretend that nothing is happening (what we actually do today), or, without unnecessary emotions, recognize the fact that today, schools and other educational institutions have become objects of increased danger. If we are ready to recognize this, then we can move on to the next stage, namely, to begin developing an effective model - a system for ensuring the security of educational institutions and other places with the mass presence of children, creating a safe environment in them from threats of a terrorist and criminal nature. It must also be recognized that the sculling phenomenon for our country is quite new, so far little studied, so it is necessary to borrow the experience of other countries where this threat was faced earlier than we. So, since there is no effective system for ensuring the security of educational institutions, which could protect students, teachers and support staff of educational institutions, from threats of a criminal and terrorist nature at the moment, we need to create it.
In the first part of the article, I gave several examples of the effective approach of our foreign colleagues in this matter. I believe that the School Safety Division (SSD) model used in New York can be used as a basis.
Let me briefly recall that SSD is a special division of the City Police Department responsible for ensuring the security of schools and other educational institutions, it consists of three main units:
- Police patrols providing patrols of school areas and rapid response to incident signals in educational institutions;
- School security agents, who guard directly inside schools, as well as monitor compliance with access and internal regimes;
- School road regulators, ensuring the safety of students on roads adjacent to schools, through additional control at pedestrian crossings and sidewalks.
I cannot say exactly how the scheme of interaction between school security units in the New York Police Department was built, information about this in open sources, I could not be found, I quite admit that this information may be closed (most likely), so it is not in the public domain. However, based on my own experience, I assume that the system is built up from several levels of protection, both external and internal, where each element performs its functions. The actions of all units are interconnected in such a way that together they form a single mechanism forming a «security zone», both inside and around the educational institution, which provides effective protection against most possible threats, both intentional and unintentional origin. The interaction scheme is designed in such a way that units do not duplicate functions, do not compete, but complement and strengthen each other's capabilities. At the same time, if necessary, they can act both autonomously and together with other law enforcement services that are not directly related to the security unit of schools and other educational organizations.
This approach, hypothetically, can be used in our country.
Part 2. Draft model of an integrated system of ensuring the safety and security of schools, other educational institutions, as well as other organizations with a mass stay of children, from threats of a terrorist and criminal nature.
Objectives, objectives, structure, forces and means
The main objectives are:
reduce to minimum, risk of:
Serious crimes and terrorist acts, as well as other emergencies threatening the life and health of people, in schools and other educational institutions;
Offences (against the person, property, sexual inviolability) and other unlawful acts against students, as well as the teaching staff and administrative staff of educational institutions;
- Road traffic accidents causing harm to the health of students, as well as the teaching staff and administrative staff of educational institutions;
- Crimes and other unlawful acts committed by students of educational institutions themselves;
- Minimize damage where it is not possible to prevent such incidents.
To do this, it is necessary: at the local (urban district) level, in the structure of the municipal (local) police, a Department for ensuring the security of educational institutions (hereinafter - the «School Security Department») must be created (we call it conditionally). You can use a format similar to SSD NYPD as a sample organizational structure for it. The main objects of its activities should be preschool *, institutions of primary, secondary, secondary vocational, as well as higher * education.
* Should preschool and higher education be included in this list? In the original version of the project they were not. However, the tragic precedents in 2019 in Naryan Mare and in 2021 in Perm, directly indicate that there is a need for this.
The «School Security Department» must have 3 structural divisions (names are conditional):
1. Rapid Response Office;
2. Specialized Security Department;
3. Department of Road Safety.
More information about each unit is now available. *
*All calculations of the staffing of the unit are made approximately, for a conditional city with a population of 450-500 thousand inhabitants, where there are 85 objects belonging to the competence of the «School Security Department».
Rapid Response Office (hereinafter referred to as RRO):
Staffing is determined on the basis of 1 mobile patrol consisting of 3 employees, for 4-5 institutions. Thus, 16-18 patrols should take over every day.
The service schedule is single-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 block their routes from 06.30 to 20.00 hours (school hours).
The total number of staff in the Office should be 115, including:
- command and officer personnel - 5 employees (commander - 1, deputy commander - 1, senior patrol shift - 3);
- rank and file (patrol police) - 110 officers.
Specialized Security Department (hereinafter SSD):
Staffing is based on 2 staff (2/2 schedule) per agency. Every day, 60 to 85 * or more * * employees must take over.
* It is an extremely controversial question whether there is a need for a stationary security post in preschool institutions, or whether it is sufficient to develop effective algorithms for personnel actions in case of emergencies, the presence of a strengthening system and technical security tools. However, this does not mean at all that if until today, we have not faced threats of this type, then we are protected from them in the future. Personally, I believe that if it is necessary to repel a direct threat, the scheme: equipment + person, is always more effective than individually. ** Higher education security requires more CCA personnel, at least a few fixed security posts and one or more patrol teams. Currently, in addition to PSC employees, many universities also have their own security services. That is how everything was organized at Perm University, the tragedy that occurred in it on September 20, 2021, clearly showed the absolute inoperability of such a scheme in real emergencies.
The service schedule is single-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 from 07.00 to 20.00.
- command and officer staff - 3 employees (commander - 1, deputy commander - 1, senior shift - 3);
- specialized security officers - 140 or more employees.
Department of Road Safety (hereinafter DRS):
The number of staff is determined on the basis of the number of unregulated pedestrian crossings and «dangerous» sections of the carriageway near educational institutions. There will be about 70 such sections and crossings, which means that 70-75 regulators should take the shift every day.
The working conditions and category of employees here should be different. Given that among the tasks assigned to them there is no prompt response and direct participation in the elimination of threats, these should be employees who are not members of a certified composition. The work schedule for the DRS is also not quite standard. In fact, the regulators are involved in the direct performance of their duties for 4 hours a day, but these hours are divided as follows: 1 hour in the morning, 2 hours in the afternoon and 1 hour in the evening. Accordingly, that work (but rather even part-time work) in such a schedule is more suitable for older people, more precisely for a certain part of them, namely pensioners and veterans of law enforcement service. The bet on this category is made, including for other reasons, to which we will return a little later.
These units build three security lines:
Boundary No. 1 (external, remote).
At this line, DRS officers are responsible for safety, they perform two main tasks: Task 1: While at pedestrian crossings of highways close to educational institutions, they ensure the safety of students who go to school or return home. With their demonstrative presence, they monitor the observance of traffic rules by both drivers and pedestrians. Task 2: By monitoring road safety along their routes, staff carry out external, visual monitoring of the situation near educational institutions. Pedestrians are fixed - both children and adults, as well as vehicles. At the same time, using behavior analysis skills, they identify people who deserve increased attention. Such persons are immediately referred to the nearest RRO patrol for verification.
DRS officers are dressed in special uniforms equipped with additional bright and reflective elements. They are equipped with radio or other special communication equipment, video recorders, rods with retro-reflective elements, light and sound alarm devices, as well as first-aid kits.
DRS officers are not armed, they are also prohibited from using personal, civilian self-defense firearms in the service. Of the entire arsenal of special equipment, they are allowed to carry an electroshock device or an aerosol package of tear gas, and then only as a means of personal self-defense.
Boundary No. 2 (external).
At this juncture, RRO officers are responsible for security, the list of their tasks is much wider: Task 1: Being on patrol routes near educational institutions and other places that make up the «features of the route», they ensure public order, protect students from illegal human actions and attack by aggressive animals. By their demonstrative presence, they carry out the prevention and suppression of crimes and administrative offenses. Task 2: visually monitor the situation, pedestrians and vehicles. Using behavior analysis skills, individuals who deserve increased attention are identified. Such persons are stopped, their identity, documents are checked, if necessary, personal searches are carried out, as well as searches of transported items (bags, backpacks, cases, etc.) and vehicles. Such checks are carried out, both on their own initiative and on information transmitted by the DRS officers, other law enforcement agencies (services), as well as citizens. Task 3: Promptly respond to reports of illegal actions and other incidents that pose a direct threat to the life and health of citizens (including natural and man-made ones) that occurred on the territory, as well as near educational institutions. Task 4: assist the employees of the DRS and SSD in the performance of their tasks, interact with the employees for juvenile affairs of the territorial unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia.
Frontier No. 3. (main)
At this line, security officers are responsible for the specialized security unit. Their posts are located directly in schools, they are entrusted with the entire list of tasks to ensure the safety of life and health of students, teachers and other workers, as well as the property of the educational institution. It is these officers who enforce the checkpoint 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 educational institutions, including close interaction with the management, psychologist, and social teacher of the educational institution, as well as employees for juvenile affairs of the territorial unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia.
It is these officers who are intended to replace the guards of the private security organizations that currently carry out this function. It is important to understand that, unlike private guards, SSD officers are police, albeit municipal. And this status, in addition to the wider list of opportunities, poses more tasks for them and makes them a much wider area of responsibility. We are talking about specific (tacit) police tasks that SSD officers will have to perform at a fixed facility. I will not disclose the details of this work, since they are directly related to the closed aspects of police activity. The deputy commander of the unit for service should be responsible for organizing such work. As a candidate for this position, only former employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, with experience in the territorial units of the criminal investigation, should be considered.
Some Employee Selection and Training Issues «School Security Department»
In the training system, in addition to standard police disciplines, an important focus should be on behavioural analysis training. Today, in the professional training system of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia with officers of patrol units, this direction is studied only superficially, in the training program it is given from 8 to 12 hours. Here, this direction should become dominant, both at the stage of initial training and in the future - in the system of professional training and advanced training. This is especially important for DRS employees, since they are the first, far safety line. A main stream of people passes by them, which moves towards educational institutions, respectively, the better the DRS officers will be able to identify persons with signs of criminal intent in this stream, the more effective the built protection will be.
I specifically noted that when staffing the DRS, preference should be given to retired veterans of service in law enforcement agencies, primarily former officers of the patrol police units. The fact is that over the years of service on the street, in constant contact with people, they have formed their own, a kind of internal detector, thanks to which they manage to identify an attacker in a stream of people by the slightest details in their behavior. Adding additional behavioural analysis training will significantly enhance their professional skills and thus greatly improve performance. In addition, serious attention should be paid to psychological training and negotiation tactics, actions in emergency situations of a natural and man-made nature. Practical exercises, exercises and training on the development of various tasks, modeling of situations and threats should be constantly carried out. On an ongoing basis, Russian and international experience in ensuring the safety of facilities with a mass stay of children should be studied and analyzed. All possible information on potential threats and their scenarios should be considered and taken into account, taking into account this: daily tasks of personnel, their job responsibilities and training programs.
How this system works
Its main principle is the creation of as many obstacles as possible, on the way of the attacker to the object of his criminal plan. The more difficult this path will be for him, the more chances that he will be able to stop before he has time to realize his illegal intentions. To date, as practice shows, «School shooters» does not stop anything. They freely reach educational institutions with weapons and explosives, easily penetrate inside and carry out what is planned. The main purpose of the proposed system is to change the current state of affairs by creating and placing «barriers» in the path of the offender.
The first obstacle for him should be the «zero» (aka hidden) security line. This milestone increases the possibility that, thanks to unspoken activities conducted by SSD officers together with psychologists and social teachers of schools, as well as employees of teenage crime units of the police, a potential «School shooter» or terrorist* will be identified even at the stage of preparation for the crime.
* Although some see no difference, I am still inclined to separate these two types of criminals by their motivation. For the «School shooter» mass murder is a way of self-expression, he is guided by one understandable goal and tries to convey only his personal message to others. A terrorist commits a crime based on a particular ideology and pursues the goals that this extremist ideology (or organization) professes.
Note: terrorist attacks in educational institutions committed by lone terrorists have not yet been encountered in our country, but, unfortunately, we will soon collide. According to current trends, international terrorist organizations rely precisely on this way of committing terrorist acts.
The second barrier should be safety line No. 1.
When the offender advances to his goal, then with a high degree of probability he will have to pass (pass) in those places where the DRS officers serve. So, 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, suggests his criminal intentions.
The third barrier is safety line No. 2.
If the attacker still manages to circumvent the posts of the DRS officers, then it is likely that he will fall into the field of view of the RRO officers patrolling (in the «free search» mode) the territories adjacent to educational institutions on the routes of active movement of students.
I immediately want to get ahead of the arguments of skeptics that filtering the flow of people in order to identify persons with suspicious behavior using behavioral analysis methods is ineffective, and an experienced criminal will easily bypass it. I will not object, this is really so if it is a professional. Here we are dealing with completely different actors, those for whom this crime is the first, and in most cases, the last in their lives. If this is the «School Shooter», then the final of the action planned by him, most often, is suicide. If this is a terrorist attack, then the perpetrator, in most cases, will also be a suicide bomber. Simply put, in both cases we are dealing with amateurs. Professionals may participate in, but not in, the planning and preparation of such crimes. Accordingly, there is no need to talk about any professional composure and self-control of these two categories of criminals. Often the opposite is true - their behavior contains a large number of external signs of what they are up to. And if people are in their way who can recognize and neutralize these intentions, then with a high degree of probability dozens, and maybe hundreds of lives on this day will be saved. It is important to maximize the probability of crossing their paths.
The fourth barrier is safety line No. 3.
If the offender manages to overcome the previous security lines, then the employees of the specialized security department, who are entrusted with ensuring security directly on the territory of the institution, should stand in his way. It is they who have to solve the most difficult tasks: prevent the criminal from realizing his criminal plan, stop him before people suffer, quickly neutralize the threat and its consequences, or minimize them. All this requires certain personal qualities and a high level of training from the employee entrusted with this work, so these officers must necessarily belong to the certified composition of the municipal (local) police.
For a greater understanding of the principle of the above-described model of the safety of educational institutions, we will conduct a theoretical experiment, on the example of the last two tragedies in Kazan and Perm.
For starters, briefly compare both situations:
Russia, Kazan, May 11, 2021:
on this day, 19-year-old Ilnaz Galyaviev, armed with a firearm and an improvised explosive device, attacked the school. As a result of this attack, 9 people were killed, another 18 were injured of varying severity, the offender himself voluntarily surrendered to the police officers who arrived at the scene. Chronology of events:
(Analysis of material from the official media):
- (the exact time is unknown, approximately 09 hours 15 minutes) the offender moves along the street to the central entrance to the school, in his hands a gun, he does not hide, people go towards him, cars pass by. This is recorded by CCTV cameras. One very important point to note is that there have been no reports of an armed man moving towards the school to the police;
- 09 hours 18 minutes, the police phone receives the first message about shots in the school, at which moment the offender was still in the yard and fired at the windows;
- 09 hours 19 minutes, the offender enters the school building, in the hall he sees an employee of the maintenance staff and shoots him, he is seriously injured. At this moment, Galyaviev sets off an improvised explosive device, an explosion occurs;
- 09 hours 20 minutes, the offender moves around the school building and conducts indiscriminate shooting, he looks for open classes and other premises, kills everyone who went to the sounds of shots, he managed to find several open classes where they were inhumanely and brutally shot children and teachers;
- 09 hours 33 minutes, the first police outfit arrives at the school, the offender himself goes to a meeting with the police and surrenders.
Russia, Perm, September 20, 2021:
18-year-old Timur Bekmansurov, armed with a firearm, attacked the university. As a result of this attack, 6 people were killed, another 47 were injured of varying severity. Arriving at the scene, the offender was wounded and detained. Chronology of events: (Analysis of material from the official media):
- about 11 o'clock, a taxi brings the offender to a bus stop located about 250 meters from the entrance to the university campus, he enters the stop and is there, about 15 minutes. I suggest that he got the equipment folded in the bag (vest, helmet, gloves, undercuts), dressed and adjusted, equipped the gun with cartridges and placed it in the bag in a position convenient for quick snatching (judging by the recordings from surveillance cameras when leaving the stop, the weapon is still in the bag). From the stop to the entrance to the campus, about 250 meters, which the criminal slowly overcomes, not hiding from anyone, somewhere in this area takes weapons out of the bag and fires several shots at passing cars;
- at about 11 hours 30 minutes, the offender enters the campus and conducts indiscriminate shooting at scattering people, some of the shots reach the target, there is the first dead. Bekmansurov moves to the entrance to the educational building, without encountering any obstacles to the path, he enters the room. Inside, in cold blood, at point blank range, he shoots a student and an unarmed private security officer. Further, the offender freely moves along the floors first of one building, shooting at everyone who comes across in his path.
- about 12 hours 00 minutes, the offender passes to another building of the university, continuing to fire on everyone who falls into his field of view.
- At about 12 hours 03 minutes, an eyewitness to the events reports an incident that was not far away and issued a traffic accident to traffic police officers.
A very important point is that police officers received information about the shooting at the university during a personal appeal to them by one of the eyewitnesses, not from the duty unit, not through official radio communications, but from a witness. 30 minutes after the start of the shooting. This fact could be written off to media speculation, but Konstantin Kalinin, a direct participant in the events, who was the first to arrive at the crime scene and neutralized the offender, police junior lieutenant Konstantin Kalinin, fully confirmed in his interview posted by the press service of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
- Approximately 12 hours and 06 minutes, a traffic police patrol consisting of 2 officers arrives at the university;
- about 12 hours 15 minutes, a police officer discovers a criminal in the hall of the corps and during a short shootout, with several shots, neutralizes him.
The result: both of these tragedies once again clearly demonstrated the complete defencelessness of educational institutions and other places with a mass stay of children, before criminals and terrorists. The events in Kerch, and especially in Kazan and Perm, are very similar to each other, the killers used the same vulnerabilities.
Other (possible) option of succession of events:
Let's consider the hypothetical probability of alternative succession of events that if the above model of a system of safety of schools and other educational institutions was realized. Briefly I will remind that at the heart of the offered model the system from three boundaries of safety is put: two external and one internal. Each boundary provides performance of a wide range of tasks of identification and neutralization of both the obvious, and hidden threats, criminal or terrorist character. Boundaries are elements of a uniform security system, however if necessary can independently work, or in interaction with other law enforcement agencies. On the example of the tragedy in Kazan and Perm:
1. Boundaries of safety No. 1 and 2 (external):
Judging by videos of events, in both cases the criminal quietly went along the busy street, along the highway up in arms, at the same time he didn't hide the intentions, and in Perm he also shot at the passing cars. They were seen, both pedestrians, and drivers of the cars passing by. Nobody stopped criminals, nobody called police. According to the researches conducted by journalists in Kazan the way from the house of the criminal to school made about 300-350 meters, he passed through lively places, the central streets, the yards of houses, public institutions. Time in a way of the murderer to the crime scene was about 5-6 minutes. In Perm the suspect moved from a public transport stop where came by the taxi, the distance made about 250 meters, also on busy streets.
If, at these boundaries, there was staff of divisions provided by the present project, in this case, with high probability the criminal would be neutralized on approach to the schoolhouse. It could occur at collision of the criminal with patrol of RRO of the second boundary of safety which problem includes patrol of the territories located near schools and other child care facilities. In Kazan, area of the school which was attacked by such institutions 2, a row located also preschool institution. In Perm the school and several educational institutions of secondary professional education is located in close proximity. Proceeding from it, at distribution of routes of patrol this area would receive the status of priority. Even in case the criminal isn't noticed by patrol 2 boundaries of safety, he with a high share (nearly 100%) of probability would be noticed by employees of DRS of 1 boundary of safety, considering a route of the movement, I will remind that in both cases the criminals moved along the highway. Having noticed the suspect, employees of OBDD immediately would report information on him, to employees of RRO and SSD.
2. Boundary of safety No. 3 (internal):
According to chronology of events and data of preliminary investigation, in Kazan the protection post at school in general was absent, in Perm the unarmed employee of the private security company was killed with one of the first, entrance doors to the room (in both cases they were from glass and plastic) the criminal also didn't stop. Then, during the long time (Kazan 15 minutes, Perm judging chronology of nearly 45 minutes) the criminal freely moved on premises of educational institutions shooting at all whom I managed to find, and in Kazan also used improvised explosive devices with the striking elements.
If, at this boundary, there were employees of SSD, in this case, with high probability, having obtained information on direct or probable threat from:
- employees of DRS;
- employees of RRO;
- the employees of a control room of police (who received a signal in service 102),
or independently, having seen the approaching criminal on surveillance cameras, the employee of SSD would involve the emergency protocol of safety, included an alarm signal, and using special means of control further (including technical means of restriction of access to the room) and also weapon and means of active defense detained the criminal or neutralized him, or at least, created conditions under which that wouldn't manage to get in the room, before arrival of rapid reaction forces.
Approximately so, events could develop. Yes, history doesn't suffer a subjunctive mood, to change the past, we at all desire can't. However, to change the future, for the present in our forces.
In addition, proceeding from the analysis of these tragedies and also several more similar crimes including committed in other countries to earlier stated project, I would like to add some more additional measures which use would allow to strengthen the level of safety of educational institutions considerably.
1. Direct police access to school video surveillance systems.
We will simulate a similar situation on the example of Kerch, Kazan and Perm. The message about firing in the territory of school comes to a control room of police, the control room of security service confirms that from this school the alarm signal is received. Patrols of police, arrival time are directed about 5 minutes to the scene.
But, there is a question - and what is known of incident details? Only the fact that in the territory of school, something occurs, but that: massacre, taking of hostages, act of terrorism? In what part of school? On what floor? In what office? How many criminals? What are they armed with? What level of threat? It is only the minimum list of questions, answers to which the person on duty of police department has to receive within several minutes so far, patrols reach the scene. Only in the presence of such information the reaction will be effective if before arrival into place patrolmen already know a short picture of the events where him to move indoors (and schools, it as a rule buildings to 3-4 floors big on squares, several buildings, with a large number of internal rooms). Each minute which is in vain spent by police officers, is the additional victims among pupils and the staff of school. How in 5 minutes to obtain a maximum of exact and useful information? It can be done in only one way, having provided police technical capability of remote access to the systems of video surveillance of schools and other institutions with mass stay of children. Having received an alarm signal, the employee of a control room of police has to have an opportunity immediately, from the workplace, receive complete control over the system of video surveillance of school from which the alarm signal is received. If to add this system with several more technical capabilities, it could increase its effectiveness. For example, integration of cameras with a building 3D model, or at least his electronic scheme what the location of each camera would be displayed on the scheme at once and the person on duty having found an event necessary to him on the monitor, I could understand where exactly in the building it occurs. It will allow to obtain within 2-3 minutes objective and detailed information about the events which the person on duty can quickly transfer to the patrols moving to the scene and also exercise visual control of a situation, adjusting actions of patrolmen taking into account changes of a situation in real time.
2. Direct access of police to intercom systems of schools.
According to stories by eyewitnesses of the tragedy in Kazan, teachers and pupils at evacuation from the schoolhouse coordinated the actions through chats in messengers. Such scheme of communication especially in a similar situation can be dangerous, the criminal can consist in such chat (the majority of assaults on schools is committed by their pupils), can use the mobile device of one of the victims, to thereby obtain information on places of the shelter of the possible victims and ways of their evacuation, or that it is even more terrible to start false information trapping the victims. For minimizing of similar risks, it is necessary to provide all schools with the system of internal, telephone communication (at many schools such system already is, in each class there is a telephone set of internal communication), this communication system has to have only one protected external connection, to a control room of police.
3. Existence in classes and service premises of additional doors lattices of sliding type.
These doors are necessary only for use in emergency situations, in the rest of the time they can be in the put state. Installation of such doors allows to provide reliable restriction of an entrance to the room without the need for use of massive all-metal doors. At schools and others educational institutions, as a rule are used rather simple and unreliable wooden or plastic doors, often also equipped with inserts from glass or transparent plastic. For the criminal armed fire or cold (for example, the axe) weapon, such door isn't an obstacle. But if besides a usual door to establish also the sliding trellised door consisting though from lungs, but enough the strong metal links forming the close-meshed metal gauze, then this design will carry out the main task – will provide reliable protection of access to the room, in the established period of time. On cracking such design to the criminal, even in the presence of tools 5-7 minutes are required. There will be enough this time or for arrival of forces of police and detention of the criminal, or evacuation of children and personnel through windows. Similar doors are necessary also on the central and spare inputs and outputs to the schoolhouse.
4. Unique Alarm Action Protocol.
For each school, a unique safety protocol must be developed, which should contain a list of mandatory actions of each school employee on the «Danger» signal. The document should be developed by law enforcement specialists, taking into account the characteristics of each school. Each class, each office in the school must be examined by security specialists. Based on this survey, a «Safety Zone» should be defined in each room, the boundaries of this zone, the layout of children and teachers in it, as well as other features should be included in this protocol. After approval of the protocol, it should receive the label «For official use» and be stored in a specialized police unit. All staff of the educational institution should know, and most importantly understand, that the content of this document is closed information that is not subject to disclosure. Exercises and training on the practical skills of school staff on actions when receiving the Alarm signal should be carried out without students, only school staff and law enforcement and operational personnel. This is necessary, because most massacres in educational institutions are committed by their students and, as practice shows, they are carefully prepared for crimes, so their knowledge of the protocol of action on the alarm signal will allow them to adjust the tactics of the crime in such a way as to cause maximum damage.
5. Availability of additional emergency evacuation facilities in classes
Among the victims of the tragedy in Kazan and Perm were those who received serious injuries when falling from a height, this happened when they tried to leave the premises of the school (university) through the windows of 2, 3 and 4 floors. This could be avoided if the classes had emergency evacuation facilities, even the simplest, for example, rope stairs. These devices shall be fixed, fixed to standard fasteners and located in close proximity to window sills, so that if necessary they can be quickly deployed and immediately used. Practical classes on the use of these tools can be conducted at physical education lessons, life safety classes, as well as at exercises and training sessions where fire response skills are practiced.
The implementation of the above-mentioned project solves a whole range of tasks to ensure the safety of educational institutions and other places with a mass stay of children and adolescents. The result should be a significant decrease:
1. The number of particularly serious crimes, such as terrorism, murder, hostage-taking, grievous bodily harm, committed against students, teachers and other personnel in and near educational institutions;
2. The number of crimes against persons and property of moderate or minor gravity, such as theft, looting, extortion, hooliganism, beatings committed against students, teachers and other personnel, in and near educational institutions;
3. The proliferation of narcotic, psychotropic and other prohibited substances within and near educational institutions;
4. the number of accidents involving children and adolescents;
5. The number of crimes and administrative offences committed by students in schools and other educational institutions;
6. The number of victims of criminal, natural or man-made emergencies.
In the long term, this will save the lives, health and fates of many children.
The main goal of writing the work for me was to show that any problem is solved if you change the approach to solving it. Not to engage, as is customary with us in any situation, in the search for the guilty, and in philosophical reasoning about the mores of modern society. It is high time to understand the real causes impartially and focus on how to prevent the recurrence of such tragedies in the future. Analyze domestic and foreign experience in this matter.
It is not necessary to be a visionary to realize that in the next few decades humanity does not expect anything good. Overpopulation, depletion of resources, environmental degradation, epidemics, local conflicts, refugees, uncontrolled migration, increased activity of terrorist organizations and the popularity of extremist ideologies. This is only a small fraction of what humanity will face in the 21st century, the beginning of this process we can see now. In the future, all these negative phenomena will only develop, and with them, the number of security threats will actively grow: crime, terrorism, natural and man-made disasters. Stronger than others, it is children who will suffer from these negative phenomena, as the most vulnerable category of the population.
Based on this, we can choose one of two possible strategies for further development:
- the first, to come to terms, to recognize this, although unpleasant, but an integral part of life, to think less about it and secretly hope that it will not affect us personally and our loved ones.
- second, to admit that we are faced with a new type of threat to the national safety of our country, which requires special countermeasures. Based on this, a model of an integrated system for countering such threats should be developed and implemented. To do this, it is necessary to study the experience of other countries in this direction, choose the best, supplement with domestic proposals and existing developments, and then implement. Constantly and carefully monitor the progress of using the new system, analyze and identify weaknesses, predict possible threats, improve and finalize it based on these forecasts.
It is time to stop being afraid to create and introduce something new, yes, no one is immune from mistakes, but for further inaction in this matter we will continue to pay with the lives and health of children, which is actually happening now. The choice is with us.
I ask you to give reviews to published materials, to express your opinion in any way convenient for you through mail, blog or groups on social networks. Any views, comments, additions and objective criticism are welcomed, because the main purpose of the project is to collectively find the right solution.
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