For the first time in their history, Raptor Technologies based in Houston Texas, will spend the next few weeks installing and training local school and public safety staff to use the company’s Emergency Management System and Visitor Management System in all fourteen public school buildings serving Cass County.
During a press conference held Wednesday, the Cass County Community Foundation announced the countywide initiative. Deanna Crispen, CCCF President & CEO said in making the announcement, “Our Board of Directors is deeply concerned about the growing violence in our young people’s lives and keeping our students safe. We believe that school safety is not one dimensional and the responsibility does not belong solely to our schools: it is the entire community’s responsibility to work together to find solutions. We are especially pleased that this effort included so many community partners: Caston, Lewis Cass, Logansport and Pioneer School Districts, Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Logansport Police Department and school safety specialists in addition to the foundation.
Crispen explained how the initiative began, “During a meeting of school superintendents and the community foundation to discuss other collaborative projects, Lewis Cass Superintendent, Dr. Tim Garland shared information about school security advancements and the Raptor systems. Dr. Garland’s research sparked interest in the other administrators and the foundation. A Raptor presentation was arranged for the next week with the educators and other key community stakeholders to evaluate the Raptor products. The group was so impressed with the systems that the foundation sought a quote to provide the systems for all fourteen school buildings in Cass County. This number includes Caston, which physically resides in Fulton County but serves Cass County students. Due to the scope of the initiative, the foundation received a favorable quote and the communitywide effort was presented to the Cass County Community Foundation Board of Directors who unanimously approved the initiative with installation to be started immediately.”
The idea of a countywide grant to supply the same equipment for all school buildings is considerably different than in other communities where school districts rely on their individual approaches to school safety. According to Mo Mirpuri, Raptor Technologies, Cass County is the first countywide adoption of the Raptor Visitor and Emergency Management solutions in the company’s history. Mirpuri was as excited as the local group to see this process result in a countywide application.
Raptor Technologies is the nation’s leading provider of integrated school safety technologies for K-12 schools across the United States. Founded in 2002, Raptor monitors visitors, contractors, and volunteers who enter a building and provides instant screenings. Every day, the Raptor system flags an average of 75 sex offenders and issues an average of 150 custom alerts, most often custody issues, in its customer schools.
In fall of 2017, the company unveiled Raptor Emergency Management, a system that helps schools prepare for, respond to, and recover from an incident with drill management, active incident management, and parent-student reunification tools. It also provides real-time reporting dashboards allowing administrators to track the status and location of every individual in a building in the event of an emergency.
Sheriff Ed Schroder said, “The system is a first step in developing a countywide response plan for any crisis on school grounds.” He emphasized, “School safety is a top priority for every parent, police officer and school administrator. The leadership and guidance of the Cass County Community Foundation has provided a giant leap to improve the security of our schools while developing the relationships to bring all of us into common procedures and technology. During any incident, time is of the essence, and this technology will help streamline the response and coordination of an event.”
The superintendents agreed, and all were grateful for the community support and added resources. Three of the four superintendents attended the press conference and shared their thoughts.
Cindy Douglass, Caston Superintendent acknowledged, “Keeping up with the needed solutions for security is a continuous challenge for our schools; particularly in light of all other needs and the confines of our budgets in operating our school systems. We are very appreciative of the efforts of the Cass County Community Foundation for partnering with the schools in our county and providing this technology that will enhance our efforts in keeping our students as safe as possible while at school."
Garland also expressed gratitude, “We are very thankful for CCCF and opportunity this provides for all schools, which proves that as a county all stakeholders are invested not only in academics but in the safety and welfare of our students. The safer our students feel the better educated they become, and we appreciate everyone coming together to have the same belief.”
Michele Starkey, Logansport Community Schools Superintendent echoed Douglass and Garland stating, “We are extremely thankful for the generosity of the Community Foundation. Their focus on positively impacting every school in Cass County by providing the Raptor system brings another layer of safety to our school buildings and creates an even safer environment for all our students. We are so very fortunate to live in a community where everyone understands the importance of providing a safe and secure learning environment for our students.”
Pioneer superintendent Chuck Grable was unable to attend but also shared his appreciation for the support of the foundation and public safety officers, noting that this truly was a team effort focused solely on the safety of our students.
Former CCCF Board member, Senator Randy Head, who has also been working on school safety issues at the state house and consulted during the process applauded the foundation, “Once again, the Cass County Community Foundation has come through to address a real need. The Raptor system will help keep students safe, give parents peace of mind, and deter those who might do harm to our children. The Foundation really stepped up here, and all of Cass County will benefit.”
Crispen concluded, “None of this would have happened without the willingness of those involved to make the time commitment to meet and share information and ideas. Our community is very blessed to have these dedicated leaders who are proactive and making Cass County a great place to raise kids.
To learn more about the Raptor Systems, please visit the company website at www.raptortech.com.
For more information about this project, the Cass County Community Foundation, its programs or how to help, contact the CCCF office at 574-722-2200.