CU Boulder begins multi-year security update to improve campus security – Greeley Tribune


To better protect students, staff, and faculty from potential threats on campus, the University of Colorado at Boulder is launching a multi-year project to update classrooms and buildings to strengthen its security and create more uniform protection across campus.

“I want people to go to class knowing they feel safe in their classroom,” said Carissa Jaquish-Rocha, public safety program manager for the CU Boulder Police Department. “That’s the whole point of this project, is that people feel safe coming to campus and learning.”

The South Auditorium doors are visible in the University of Colorado Boulder Chemistry Building. Amphitheaters have multiple entrances and can be difficult to secure in a “run, hide, fight” situation. (Matthew Jonas/staff photographer)

The CU Boulder Police Department received $3.4 million in state-controlled maintenance funding as well as an $8,000 grant from the Collaborative Reform Initiative Technical Assistance Center, a program of the U.S. Department of Justice, for the project. State funding will help purchase new hardware such as thumb locks, and the grant allowed the campus to hire a consultant who will help guide the campus as it begins to update its security, Jaquish-Rocha said.

The campus began looking for ways to improve its security a few years ago after Boulder police responded to an incident where a man was suspected of wielding a machete inside the Champions Center on campus, Jaquish – Rocha. Officers were unable to gain access to the building because they did not have BuffOne cards, the identification cards that allow students, staff and faculty to access campus facilities.

In cases like this, when the campus sends out an alert telling students or employees to follow its Run, Hide, Fight active harmer protocol, CU Boulder officials have also realized that all buildings or classrooms on campus don’t have the same equipment or the same technology that allows someone to do this, Jaquish-Rocha said.

If a student is in an older building such as Hale Science, they may not be able to secure themselves properly because not all doors are locked.

Some doors at the University of Colorado Boulder require a special access card to open. (Matthew Jonas/staff photographer)

“It’s a problem because a student or an affiliate might think, ‘Well, if I’m hiding in this classroom, I’m safe,’ but they really aren’t because the classroom is not secure,” she said. “Our hope is now with this new update, which will be consistent across campus, so whether you’re in engineering or you’re in Hale, you’re Run, Hide, Fight means the exact same thing.”

Last year, the campus audited about 60 buildings, said Brian Lindoerfer, assistant vice chancellor for facilities operations and services. The CU Police Department partnered with facilities management for the project. State funding can only be used in buildings that are less than five years old and operate within the general campus budget. The audit examined approximately 545 classrooms of the 600-700 total classrooms on campus.

Lindoerfer said he will in the future evaluate newer buildings such as the Ann & HJ Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences to see what updates he needs and will also review design standards to see how buildings with glass doors can be made safer.

“Obviously we still want to provide some of these spaces (in glass) because they’re aesthetically great, but from a security perspective we have to think about that,” Lindoerfer said.

CU Boulder also met with the Boulder Police Department, CU Boulder Police, FBI, Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Boulder Fire-Rescue and other first responders last year to get ideas for layouts. that will allow the campus to better partner with local agencies that can respond to threats on campus.

“It’s really resulted in a whole list of door lock recommendations, signage in classrooms to let students or teachers know which room they’re in, and then that same sign is outside so that first responders can coordinate together on which doors you’re going to access, when they’re going to come in and that sort of thing,” Lindoerfer said.

Large lecture halls in buildings like Cristol Chemistry and Biochemistry are tricky because there are many doors and the instructors are usually in the center of the classroom. Lindoerfer said they are considering electrifying the doors so that when they close, the instructor can push a button and lock the classroom from the inside. When this button is pressed, it will send an alert to the CU Boulder dispatch center, which will alert an officer.

Jaquish-Rocha said classrooms that have an occupancy of less than 100 people will be given thumbturn locks and will not be electrified. If there is a potential threat or an active thug alert being sent to campus, the thumb turn lock would give students or the instructor the ability to lock their door without the need for a key.

“We not only want to make it accessible to students and faculty, but we want to make it a safe place and that’s the whole point,” she said. “I want people to go to class knowing they feel safe in their classroom.”

Updates will occur over several years, Lindoerfer said. The goal is to start rolling out the non-electric hardware this summer and continue updates during the school holidays. Electric door updates will be the second step in the process.

“We just want to be able to put these protocols in place to give at least another additional layer of physical security,” he said. “It won’t be the best solution for every scenario, but it is a tool that is available depending on the specific situation.”

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