Instead of the preface
The world around us is changing and becoming more dangerous. This, unfortunately, is a reality, although unpleasant. Terrorism and the so-called «School Shooters» have long been transformed from a ghostly threat to a real one. This means that it is necessary to develop effective measures to counter this threat, without hesitation to borrow the experience of other countries. Attempts at mass killings and terrorist acts in schools and other institutions with a mass stay of children continue unabated. Such dynamics directly indicate that if in the very near future not to reconsider the approach to organizing the security of educational institutions, then the list of tragedies and people affected in them will be constantly replenished with new facts and names.
We should begin by recognizing the very existence of the problem. It is necessary to stop living in a world of illusions and realize that over the past fifty years the world around us has changed a lot, and it has not changed at all for the better. The number of threats of various kinds has increased significantly, and children are especially vulnerable to them, because due to their age and insufficient life experience, they cannot cope with these threats on their own.
You can talk infinitely about the mores of modern society and indulge in memories of the past, but this will not change anything. It is necessary to state without unnecessary emotions that today the school has become an object of increased danger. Taking this fact as a given, we will be able to choose two possible options for the development of events: either continue to pretend that nothing is happening (what we are actually doing today), or openly voice the existence of the threat and begin to search for effective ways to counter it.
I choose the second, this is what my work is dedicated to.
This article was developed by the author from Russia, based on events, as well as the features of ensuring the safety of schools and the law enforcement system operating in the Russian Federation. The solutions proposed by the author, with due revision, taking into account the peculiarities of local legislation, are quite suitable for any other country.
Part 1. Description of the problem situation, the level of threat and vulnerability of schools and institutions with a mass stay of children. Analysis of foreign experience, examples of promising directions and formats of existing models of organization of safety of educational institutions.
The idea of studying in more detail the question of how the security of schools in our country was organized arose immediately after the tragic events in Kerch, when during the mass shooting in the college, organized by one of the students killed 21 students and teachers, more than 60 people were injured and injured.
I did not search for the motives of the criminal and the reasons that prompted him to such actions, I believe that specialists in other specialties, such as psychologists and sociologists, should deal with this. In this article, I want to deal not with the question «Who is to blame?,» But try to find the answer to the second, in my opinion, the more important question «What to do?» And how exactly should this be done?
In general, the situation with the safety of schools in our country can be described as extremely difficult, the safety of educational institutions and places with a mass stay of children as a system exists only formally, but in fact absent. And recent tragedies have clearly demonstrated this. Over the past 5 years, more than 30 cases and attempts at mass killings have been committed, the number of dead goes to dozens, and wounded to hundreds, and the worst thing is that the number of such attempts continues to grow steadily. Only this year, the Russian special services managed to prevent 3 attempts at massacres in schools, large casualties were avoided due to the fact that the schools were quarantined due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic.
Due to the fact that there is no system for countering such threats in Russia, I decided to study in more detail the very nature of this phenomenon and foreign experience in countering such threats.
The very concept of «School shooter» came to us from the USA, where this phenomenon was encountered in the last century. The world-famous case at Columbine School was not a starting point, similar cases in the United States have been recorded before. Based on this, I concluded that it is the United States that has the greatest experience in studying both the phenomenon of the School Shooter and how to counter it.
I began my study with the question: How is security ensured in American schools? Are there positive systems in place to counter such threats?
Having studied (according to available open sources of information) information about the principles of organizing such work, I came to the conclusion that in most cases I did not find anything special in the system of ensuring the protection of schools in the United States. The entire security system of most schools in the United States is not much different from ours, in most cases it consists of installing a metal detector at the entrance and duty of a private security officer, in which even such simple security measures are not used everywhere.
Note: in the United States, in terms of school safety, there are no uniform, binding standards and rules. This is a feature of their state structure - each state, and often each city, decides how and how to ensure the safety of educational institutions within the framework of their desires and 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.
However, with a more detailed study, I still managed to find examples of a special approach to ensuring the safety of educational institutions and places with a mass stay of children. These are examples of New York and Los Angeles. Let's look at these examples in more detail and try to compare and evaluate their effectiveness.
The New York City Police Department School Safety Division (NYPD SSD)
translates as - the School Security Division of the New York Police Department, but the residents of the metropolis themselves more often call this service «school police.»
Since 1998, SSD has been a structural unit of the New York Police Department, before that it was part of the education department of the city hall.
This happened when the mayor of New York was Rudolph Giuliani, known for his innovative approach to security issues. It was during this period that the city police underwent serious reform, and most importantly, that significant positive results were achieved during these reforms. In an incomplete eight years, New York, led by Giuliani and his team, has turned from one of the most criminal to one of the safest cities in the United States.
Giuliani, apparently, was a clear supporter of the centralization of all law enforcement agencies and security units into a single profile structure. Therefore, he removed almost all municipal services and units with police functions (and there were many of them) from non-core departments and departments, and reassigned them to the New York Police Department.
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 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).
The bulk of SSD employees do not have full police status. Despite this, they wear a uniform similar to the police (only the color of the shirt differs), and the SSA is also vested with almost all police powers: they can detain and bring to the police station, conduct personal searches, restrict 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 area adjacent to the school 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 even to approach schools, kindergartens, playgrounds and other children's institutions.
In addition to SSD, the NYPD has another unit directly related to the safety of school students.
School Crossing Guards (SCG) - (semantic translation - School road controllers)
uniformed officers of this unit monitor pedestrian crossings near schools and regulate the movement of vehicles in these areas, ensuring the safety of children when crossing the road. Despite the fact that the SCG is a structural unit of the New York Police Department, its officers, unlike the SSD, are not police or agents, this unit is completely civilian. Judging by the SCG section on the NYPD website, it is not necessary to have even a secondary education for employment there: it is enough to know English well, get an interview, take a drug test and finish a six-day course at the police academy.
It should be noted that for the United States the creation of separate police services to ensure the safety of schools is not uncommon. The «School Police» is similar in its tasks in another American metropolis - Los Angeles.
Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD)
Despite its name, the Los Angeles School Police Department, LASPD is not part of the city police structure, but refers to the city education department. However, despite the subordination, LASPD is a full-fledged police service, which, in addition to the patrol and post service, also includes:
- Criminal Investigation Unit;
- special forces detachment;
- canine department;
- Bicycle patrol unit;
- Public Relations and other law enforcement agencies;
- Psychological support department;
- training center.
LASPD positions are called police officers. Also, unlike their colleagues from New York, in Los Angeles, school police officers serve with firearms.
Of course, on the surface, LASPD looks quite impressive, but what is the effectiveness of such a service?
According to open sources, LASPD has about 500 employees, including support units (personnel, collateral, accounting, etc.). Unfortunately, it was not possible to find accurate data on the staffing table of the department, therefore, based on the pragmatism of the American police in personnel matters, suppose that the entire administrative and economic apparatus accounts for no more than 6% of the total number of employees, that is, 30 people. Another 20 people will be considered absent for good reasons (vacation, sick leave). This small figure is due to the fact that the school police schedule is closely related to the school schedule, and police officers mainly go on vacation during the school holidays. In fact, there are usually about 450 employees, from this figure we subtract another 30 employees - these are those who are not directly involved in the patrol service, these are: the duty unit, the special forces detachment, detectives. In fact, about 420 police officers work directly on the streets. With a shift schedule, the number of police officers entering the service daily will be approximately 200-210 patrols. When organizing a service in a two-shift schedule day and night, it is logical to assume that at least 80% (170 people) of employees should be allocated on the first (day) shift when classes are held in schools. Using a standard type of police patrol of two officers, it turns out that 80-85 school police patrols take to the streets every day on the first shift. In total, there are 1300 schools in the LASPD service area, which means that for each police patrol there are from 15 to 20 schools. Even if each patrol is given only the most basic tasks, such as simply stopping by each school, going inside, indicating its presence, asking the director or deputy if everything is in order, and going around the school), it will take at least 15-20 minutes, another 5-10 minutes to get to the desired school. In total, it turns out only about 30 minutes for each school, and such schools on its site from 15 to 20. In fact, in order to go around all the schools located on the route, the patrol will have to spend at least 6 hours, respectively, for a 12-hour shift, the patrol will visit each school at best 2 times, together giving it 40-45 minutes.
Thus, given the size of the unit and its internal structure, it can be assumed that LASPD does not provide security for schools by placing physical security posts in each of them, but only by increasing the police presence and patrol density in the areas where educational institutions are located, as well as on the routes of the most active movement of students. In addition, the responsiveness to incidents in schools is significantly increased, and given the presence of LASPD's own operational-search unit and special forces, they can suppress both criminal and terrorist threats.
Comparison of LASPD and NYPD SSD models by performance
If we compare the effectiveness of school security in existing cases of attempted massacres, 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 did not reach the age of criminal responsibility. We are talking about an incident that occurred on February 2, 2018 at the Salvador Castro Middle School, where five students were injured. The shooter was a girl of twelve years old, who was detained.
In my opinion, it is the School Safety Division of the New York Police Department that is a more effective unit whose organization and operations are more consistent with the level of modern threats.
Why do I think so:
1. it is a fully police unit, which is a structural unit of the City Police Department. Direct membership of the police provides the SSD with much more capacity and resources to carry out its direct task, namely, ensuring the safety of schools, protecting the life, health and property of students and employees of educational institutions.
2. School security in the New York police is a multi-level system that begins to operate outside the school. Every morning, when children are still going to classes, at the main intersections located near schools, there are traffic controllers from the SCG (let me remind you that, unlike other US cities, in New York, these regulators are police officers) who stop transportation to provide children with safe passage to school. This ensures not only a high level of safety on the roads near schools, but also the first line of observation and detection of potential dangers, even at the far approaches to the educational institution. *
* This statement is my subjective assumption based on an assessment of the situation based on personal professional experience. I did not attend the training of SCG staff, but I am sure that in addition to monitoring the road situation, they are tasked with visually monitoring suspicious persons and vehicles near schools.
Also during this period, enhanced patrols are conducted by police from the SSD. I can again assume that their (police, not security agents) main task is to patrol the areas where schools are located and to perform the function of a mobile rapid response force to reports of incidents both directly on the territory of schools and on the streets and roads adjacent to them.
Directly inside schools, SSA agents ensure the safety of life, health and property of students, teachers, as well as the educational institution itself. 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.
Using School Safety Division
building a universal and effective school security system
I believe that, based on the system in place in New York, with some refinement and the necessary conditions, it is possible to create a universal format for ensuring the safety of schools and other institutions with a mass stay of children, which will be suitable for use in a State with any type of police system.
Opinion of sceptics
Skeptics use two main arguments:
Argument No. 1 - Such a model is not perfect, the effectiveness of its use raises serious doubts.
It is difficult to disagree with this, because perfect security systems that could not be overcome in the modern world simply do not exist. However, they never existed before and will not appear in the foreseeable future. To any, even the most technically perfect lock, you can pick up a tag, but this does not mean that you need to refuse doors, locks and safes. The effectiveness of any security system is calculated according to a simple principle: the higher the chance that a potential offender will be detained even before he can overcome this system, and even if he can, he will not have time to fulfill his plan before he is stopped, the more effective the system.
Doubts about the effectiveness of using this model in other countries can also be agreed, because everything new that we do not yet have practical experience raises reasonable doubts. Foreign experience is also far from always suitable for other countries, especially if it is thoughtlessly copied, which is very often done by short-sighted politicians and officials.
Therefore, as mentioned above, this model is interesting rather as a good idea, which can be taken as a basis, to study in more detail the experience of its practical application, and then on its basis to develop its own model suitable for use in our country. There is nothing shameful about studying and adopting the best that is in other countries in this matter, improving and supplementing this with our own achievements. If successful, it is possible that in the future they will already learn from us. And in order to understand how workable and effective this model will be, you need to first create it, and then test it in practice.
Argument No. 2 - Such a system will be too expensive.
Today, statistics of tragedies, not only in our country, but also around the world, so far only confirm the relevance of the statement that everything that was saved on ensuring the safety of people will subsequently be spent on paying compensation to families affected by the consequences of such savings. I would also like to ask a question to those who believe that this is expensive and burdensome for the budget: How much does it cost the life and health of a child? No, I'm not twisting. Economic feasibility is calculated using a simple formula - the final goal and the costs of achieving it are determined, 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 when you say that the cost of it is not justified?
Part 2. Project of an integrated security system
in schools and other institutions with mass presence of children
Currently, in our country, the security of educational institutions in most cases (the exception is only expensive private schools) is provided formally, at the most primitive level. Concepts such as security exist only on paper, in the form of reports, reports and briefs. The implementation of direct tasks for the protection of children's life and health is generally entrusted to private security organizations, which in most cases offer poor quality services at a low cost. As practice shows, the approach to security does not create special problems for attackers, it is safe to say that children in the school are completely defenseless.
What should I do?
The answer to this question, it seems to me, is simple enough - since there is no system, then it needs to be created. The problem is that there is no experience in effectively countering such threats in our country, since this phenomenon is quite new for Russia. Therefore, I turned to the achievements of our foreign colleagues in this matter. In the first part of the article, I presented examples of interesting and promising solutions in the field of school safety in cities such as New York and Los Angeles.
Why the United States? Let me remind you that the very concept of «School shooter,» as well as the dangerous teenage subculture «School shooting» associated with it, arose in the USA and from there began to spread to other countries of the world. It should also be borne in mind that American law enforcement agencies have encountered this phenomenon much earlier than other countries, and, accordingly, have accumulated more practical experience in countering this threat. In addition, the school security system itself in the United States is not unified and universal, in each state (and sometimes the city) it is unique in its own way. This makes it possible, on the example of one country, to consider and compare several systems at once, as well as, using statistics, to assess the effectiveness of their application.
In the first part of the article, we examined these systems in sufficient detail and made a comparison, on the basis of which, from a practical point of view, I concluded that the system used in New York was of greatest interest. If properly refined and adapted to local conditions, such a system could be used in other countries, and I am sure this use would be successful.
Let me briefly remind you that for more than 20 years, a special department has been responsible for the safety of schools in the New York Police Department - School Safety Division (SSD). This division consists of three divisions:
Police officers providing patrols of school areas and prompt response to incidents in educational institutions;
School safety agents (School Safety Agents), which provide security directly inside schools, as well as monitoring compliance with access and internal regimes;
- School Crossing Guards, which ensure the safety of students on roads adjacent to schools, through additional control at pedestrian crossings and sidewalks.
How exactly the scheme of interaction between school security units and the New York Police Department is built, I can't say for sure. I could not find information about this in open sources. Although I quite admit that this information may be closed (which is most likely), therefore, our American colleagues did not share it.*
* I did try to find out, for which I sent several letters to the New York Police Department, but not a response was received to one of the letters, although notifications that the letters were received by the addressee on the day they were sent.
I can assume that this system is based on the creation of several levels of protection, both external and internal, where each of the structural departments 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 that forms both inside and around the school a kind of «security zone» from most possible threats, both intentional and unintentional origin.
Such an approach could hypothetically be used to create a universal format on the basis of which it is possible to build security systems for educational institutions and other institutions with a mass presence of children in different countries based on the existing capabilities and within the existing police system.
About the term «Police System,» which I often use:
The legal literature gives a broader interpretation of this definition taking into account many factors, classes and subgroups. I use a brief and general division of the police system by type:
Centralized - all (or an absolute majority) police services have a centralized, vertical management system, subordinate to a special body in the government of the state, usually the Ministry of the Interior or the Ministry of Security. Jurisdiction extends to the entire territory of the country. The centralized police system operates in countries such as Russia, Great Britain, China, Germany and several other states.
Decentralized - all (or an absolute majority) of police services and units are autonomous, they are subordinate to local authorities of the municipal or regional level. Jurisdiction is limited to the boundaries of a municipality or region. The decentralized police system operates in countries such as the United States, Switzerland and several other states.
Combined - (the most common type) in states with this type of system, there are police services of both federal and local importance, they can operate both in parallel and within the framework of the separation of powers between federal and local authorities. Jurisdiction is governed by state and local law, as well as agreements between the government of the country and local authorities. The combined police system operates in countries such as France, Italy, Romania, Latvia, Spain, the Czech Republic and many other states.
Consider a hypothetical model of such a security system for schools and other institutions with a mass stay of children.
Objectives, objectives, structure, forces and means:
The main goal: 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.
To do this, it is necessary: at the local (urban district) level, a Department for the Security of Educational Institutions must be created in the structure of the local police. You can use a format similar to that used for SSD in NYPD as a sample organizational structure for it.
The main task for this department is actually spelled out in its name, the main objects of its activities should be educational institutions.
The Security Department of educational institutions must have 3 structural divisions (names are conditional):
1. Rapid Response Company;
2. Company of specialized security;
3. Department of Road Safety.
Now more details about each of the units.
All calculations of the staffing number of units were 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.
Rapid Response Company:
Staffing is determined on the basis of 1 mobile patrol consisting of 3 employees for 4-5 educational institutions. Thus, 10-12 patrol crews 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.
The total company size should be 75 employees, of which:
- command and officer personnel - 3 employees (company commander -1, platoon commander - 2);
- Rank and file officers (patrol police) - 72 officers.
Company of specialized security:
Staffing is determined on the basis of the employee's 2 (at schedule 2/2) for 1 educational institution of the protected category. Every day, 50 employees must take the shift.
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 personnel - 3 employees (company commander - 1, deputy company commander - 1, platoon commander - 2);
- 100 officers of the specialized security service of the Municipal Police Department.
Road Safety Branch:
Staffing is determined on the basis of the number of unregulated pedestrian crossings and «dangerous» sections of the carriageway near the educational institutions of the protected category. 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 neither a rapid response nor direct participation in the elimination of threats, these should be employees who are not members of a certified composition.
The work schedule of employees of this department 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 (and rather even part-time work) in such a schedule is more suitable for older people, more precisely for a certain part of them, namely, law enforcement veterans. The bet on this category of employees is made, including for other reasons, to which we will still return in the continuation of the article.
These units build three security lines:
Frontier No. 1 (far)
At this stage, the service is carried out by employees of the Road Safety Branch, they perform two main tasks:
Objective 1: While at pedestrian crossings of highways close to schools, 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: When regulating traffic on their routes towards schools, employees visually monitor the situation near schools. Pedestrians are recorded - both children and adults, as well as vehicles moving towards the school, using behavior analysis skills, identify persons deserving increased attention. Such persons shall be immediately reported to the nearest Operational Response Company patrol.
Employees of the Road Safety Department are wearing special uniforms equipped with additional bright and reflective elements. They are equipped with radio or other special communications, video recorders, rods with retro-reflective elements, light and sound alarm devices, as well as first aid kits.
Employees of the Road Safety Branch are not armed; they are also prohibited from using personal, civilian firearms of self-defense 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.
Frontier No. 2.
At this line, the service is carried out by employees of the Operational Response Company, 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, protect students from illegal human actions and attack by aggressive animals. With their demonstrative presence, they carry out the prevention of crimes and administrative offenses on patrol routes.
Task 2: visually monitor the situation near schools. They fix pedestrians (like children. so adults), as well as vehicles moving towards the school, using behavior analysis skills, identify people who deserve increased attention. 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.
They carry out such checks on information transmitted by employees of the Traffic Safety Department, 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. They leave for reports of the activation of alarm devices in educational institutions located on the patrol route.
Task 4: Assist employees of the Traffic Safety Department and the Company of Specialized Security in the performance of their tasks, interact with officers on juvenile affairs of the territorial police unit.
Frontier No. 3. (main)
At this line, the service is carried out by employees of 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 security regime (including checkpoints), both in the main building and in the surrounding area.
In addition to the protection function, these officers are entrusted with a number of relevant police tasks inside the school, close interaction with the management, psychologist, and social teacher of the educational institution, as well as officers for juvenile affairs of the territorial police unit.
It is these officers who are intended to replace the security guards of the private security companies and organizations that are currently responsible for this function. It is important to understand that unlike private guards, employees of the Specialized Security Company 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 (police) tasks that employees of the Specialized Security Company will have to perform at a fixed facility. The deputy commander of the unit for service should be responsible for organizing such work.
How this system works
Its main principle is the creation of the maximum possible number of obstacles to the attacker's path 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 calmly 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 the specialized security services carried out by the Company's staff, together with psychologists and social teachers of the school, as well as employees of the Juvenile Affairs Unit of the territorial police department, unspoken events, a potential 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.
We have not yet encountered terrorist attacks in educational institutions committed by lone terrorists in our country, but, unfortunately, we will soon encounter them. According to current trends, international terrorist organizations rely precisely on this way of committing terrorist acts.
The second barrier for the offender should be security line No. 1.
When the offender moves towards his goal, he is highly likely to have to go to places where employees of the Road Safety Branch 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 next barrier for the offender is security line No. 2.
If the offender still manages to bypass the posts of employees of the Traffic Safety Branch, then it is likely that he will come to the attention of the officers of the Rapid Response Company patrolling (in a «free search» mode) the territories adjacent to educational institutions and on the routes of active movement of students. The patrol officers of this unit have the same tasks as the employees of the Road Safety Branch: using professional skills, to identify in the human flow people whose behavior indicates their criminal intentions. Also respond to information on such persons from other sources.
I immediately want to get ahead of the arguments of skeptics that filtering a human stream 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 we are talking about 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 a «School shooter,» then the final of the action planned by him, as a rule, is suicide. If the 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.
If the criminal manages to overcome all previous security lines, then another line will remain on his way, the main one. These are employees of the specialized security unit, who are entrusted with ensuring security directly in the school. It is on their shoulders that the greatest responsibility lies, and 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 staff member entrusted with this work, therefore, these officers must necessarily belong to the certified composition of the local police.
The planned result:
Subject to the full implementation of this system, the main result should be a significant reduction in the number of especially serious crimes (terrorism, murder, hostage-taking, causing grievous bodily harm, etc.) committed against students and employees in the territory and near educational institutions.
A secondary result should be a significant drop in the level of ordinary crime in schools: a decrease in the number of thefts, robberies, extortion, hooliganism, as well as a significant reduction in the distribution of narcotic, psychotropic and other prohibited substances on the territory of educational institutions.
In addition, a significant decrease in the number of children killed and injured in traffic accidents should also be an equally important result.
Some staffing and training issues for the Training Security Division
In the training system, in addition to standard police disciplines, an important focus should be on behavioural analysis training. Today, in the Centers for the training of police officers with officers of patrol units, this area is studied only superficially, in the training program it is given from 8 to 12 hours (data are given on the situation in Russia, in other countries the situation may differ). 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 the staff of the Road Safety Branch, since they are the first, far edge of safety. A main stream of people passes by them, which moves towards schools, respectively, the better the employees of the Traffic Safety Department are able to identify persons with signs of criminal intent in this stream, the more effective protection will be.
As I noted earlier, I believe that when staffing the Road Safety Branch, preference should be given to retired law enforcement veterans, primarily former patrol officers. The fact is that over 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 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.
All these features should be incorporated into the initial training and development programmes of these units. Practical exercises, exercises and training on the development of various models of situations and incidents should be constantly carried out.
The analysis and forecasting units should continuously examine and analyse local and international experiences with regard to the security of facilities with mass presence 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 personnel should be adjusted in this regard.
Instead of an epilog
The main purpose of writing this article for me was to show that any problem is solvable if you change the approach to solving it. Modern threats require operational solutions, effective maneuvering, and most importantly action to advance. The main goal is to prevent crime, save the lives and health of children, protect them from the threats of crime and terrorism. I do not argue that my proposed solution is the only one and the right one, I only offered the opportunity.
Dear colleagues and like-minded people, I will be very pleased with the comments, additions and constructive criticism on your part. I am sure that together we will be able to do more for the safety of children around the world.
date of publication - on July 14, 2020
author Grishin Roman, Russian Federation
photo taken from the site New York Daily News
Dear readers, colleagues, like-minded people.
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.