GRCC installing one-step campus lockdown system

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Community College is adding another layer of security to protect its campus during an emergency.

A new lockdown system will allow designated GRCC officials to seal 400 campus doors with the press of one button.

It’s a big change from the current system in place.

“What we have right now is a shelter-in-place opportunity versus a lockdown because we don’t have the ability to electronically lock down from a remote location,” GRCC Campus Police Chief Rebecca Whitman told 24 Hour News 8.

Whitman explained that the current system requires someone to manually lock each individual door on campus in the event of an emergency.

She plans for that to change by the start of the fall semester. That’s when GRCC plans to start rolling out the new system for some of its buildings.

“There’s a couple different ways we’ll be able to access it,” Whitman said.

There will be computer software at GRCC police headquarters that will have the capability to lock up campus with one press of the keyboard. A small number of college officials will also have an iPhone app that with one press of a red lockdown icon will seal campus buildings.

People inside locked buildings will be able to exit the locked doors, but they won’t be able to re-enter until the lockdown is lifted.

Crews are in the process of  installing the equipment and replacing all of the card readers for building access. Students and staff will use new cards both for building entry and campus purchases, Whitman explained.

“I absolutely think it’s necessary,” she said. “This isn’t something that’s a choice anymore. It’s a best practice.”

GRCC was put on lockdown in the early hours of Nov. 1 after someone found a loaded gun magazine on campus. Shutting down the empty campus was quick then, but it should be even faster under the new system if something similar happens again.

The new lockdown system will be rolled out in phases. GRCC approved $1.8 million to install it at its downtown and southwest Grand Rapids campuses. There will also be an installation on GRCC’s Holland campus.

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