The Glen Cove School District is in talks with local law enforcement agencies about whether to install a system that would allow school buildings to share their security camera footage and other information with police in the event of an emergency.
The Nassau County Police Department has contracted with IntraLogic Solutions and Rave Mobile Safety to provide such a system, free of charge, to any school districts in the county that want to participate. Glen Cove Superintendent Maria Rianna said the district was considering any and all possible ways to improve the school’s security system, “including Rave.”
Rianna said that Glen Cove has yet to implement the system because “technical difficulties” in some district buildings would affect Rave’s effectiveness, depending on where on campus an alarm is triggered. “We want to make sure that whatever solution we’re using, it’s going to be the most efficient and most completely effective,” she said. She declined to comment further, explaining that the district had been advised by security experts to keep the details of its security system confidential.
Andrew Bennet, a Glen Cove parent and the principal of a middle school in Suffolk County, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council last year, agreed with Rianna. “The best scenario is when there is open communication between the school and the public to the greatest extent possible, but when it comes to safety, Dr. Rianna is correct,” Bennet said. “The more specific information that is put out there to the public, the greater the opportunity for someone to use it to compromise the safety of the students.”
While the specifics of the Rave system itself are hard to come by, it is being implemented across Long Island. The Rave app is an information-delivery system that can be triggered by school faculty members on their smartphones. It is supported by hardware and software developed by IntraLogic Solutions, a Massapequa-based security firm that gathers and parses the information.
In May 2016, the NCPD contracted with IntraLogic and Rave for almost $1.6 million. According to officials from both companies, under the contract, schools can participate in the system free of charge.
Lee Mandel, CEO of IntraLogic, said that about 75 percent of Nassau County school districts are taking part in the program. He would not say whether Glen Cove was one of them, but having worked with the district in the past, he said, “They have been extremely proactive” about school security.
Mandel spoke at a Board of Education forum on school security in March. In 2014, the Glen Cove district paid IntraLogic $35,000 for its “access control” system, which, according to presentations the company has made to other districts, consists of automatic card readers at building entry points and other measures to ensure that everyone who is on campus is supposed to be there.
He added that all of the money from the county contract went to Rave Mobile Safety, the company behind the app. For IntraLogic’s part of the deal, the county paid $1. “We try to give back to the communities,” Mandel said.
IntraLogic has other contracts, dating back to 2014 and totaling more than $2.4 million, with county departments, including the Police Department, the Office of Emergency Management, the county jail and the Department of Public Works. To help with the construction of a new office building, completed in 2016, the company received roughly $84,000 in tax incentives from the county. IntraLogic has made $18,500 in campaign contributions to candidates for county office since 2011.
The Rave app, when triggered by a school faculty member, automatically provides information, including the school’s floor plan, and in some cases live video feed from the school’s security cameras, to emergency responders and school personnel, as well as to a 911 dispatcher. Michael Shields, regional dispatcher for Rave Mobile Safety, the company behind the app, said that pieces of information are “siloed” in different places, and that the Rave app is designed to make them easily accessible to the dispatcher, who acts as a coordinator. Shields added that there was a great deal of information that a school district could share with law enforcement, and that a district using Rave didn’t necessarily have to share its video feed with the police, but did so in many cases.
Mandel said that it was up to each school district to reach an agreement with police about whether its surveillance feed would be shared all the time, or only during emergencies, but added that there was nothing in the Rave technology that would prevent continuous sharing.
The Glen Cove district has accelerated its plan to improve school security, and has budgeted about $250,000 for capital projects — like “man-trapper” vestibules at the school’s entrances, which are expected to be installed over the summer. Additionally, a bond committee, made up of school board members, parents and teachers as well as architects, engineers and designers contracted by the district, has completed walkthroughs of each of the school buildings, and will present a wish list of security improvements at the next Board of Education meeting on May 9 at 7:30 p.m., at Glen Cove High School.