New system puts school on lockdown with one 'click'

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- School may be out, but that doesn't mean safety upgrades get a summer vacation. KEPR learned aggressive measures are being taken in Kennewick to provide new security systems for schools this fall. It's a project that would put a school on lockdown with the click of a button.

It's the sound of a school on lockdown.

But this time, it's all done with one 'click.'

"All the doors lock, the credentials deactivate, so they can't be used to get into the building," said Maintenance and Operations Manager Keith Colee.

Keith Colee acts as the maintenance manager for the Kennewick School District. He says the almost half-million dollar safety project is a worthy investment. Preventing an incident like Sandy Hook to hit home.

"Hopefully, we'll never need it, but having it will be very handy," added Colee.

The new interface allows administrators to view security footage, door-access controls and lockdown commands all at once. Upgrades should be done to all elementary schools by this fall. It means dozens of new digital security cameras for each school.

It's something most Kennewick elementary schools didn't have. Parents like Michelle Bricker know the connection between safety and learning.

"I don't want my child to be afraid to go to school, and I want her to be able to relax and learn because it's obviously if she's stressed, she's not going to take as much in," said Kennewick parent Michelle Bricker.

Better access entry via swipe ID cards will also be implemented. Before the change, only some doors required access-entry. But now, doors will be networked. It means a "goodbye" to manual locking in case of emergencies.

Administrators can now lockdown from any location using the internet. Stopping danger and assuring parents with a click.

"You want your kids to be in an atmosphere where they feel safe," said Bricker.

The district hopes to make upgrades to secondary schools by the end of the next school year. Kennewick isn't the only school doing summer upgrades. Beyond regular maintenance, *Richland is considering welcoming back the program: "bring Your Own Device."

It invites students to use their own technology to save the district money.