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Uniform security procedures described

All four Cheektowaga school districts are rolling out a standardized school building entry procedure to create a uniform security policy, according to officials.

The Maryvale School Board on Monday night heard a brief report on what District Superintendent Gary Brader called a newly developed common protocol for access. The plan -- which includes using intercoms to identify school visitors and a remote door release system to allow them in -- was coordinated and partly funded through the Cheektowaga Police Department.

According to Brader, the system will be used at all school buildings in all four Cheektowaga school districts -- Maryvale, Cheektowaga Sloan, Cheektowaga Central and Cleveland Hill. Brader said police suggested the uniform policy.

"The Police Department felt with everything going on in the world, we ought to be looking at our level of security," said Brader. "And also so people would become comfortable with the procedure no matter which school they were going into."

He said visitors to any of the town's schools would encounter an intercom at locked doors. Visitors "ringing in" would be asked to identify themselves and tell their reason for visiting before the door is electronically unlocked. Brader said hall monitors, already stationed at a table near the entries, will monitor the intercom and remotely unlock doors for approved visitors.

The main change, he added, is that monitors no longer will have to physically unlock the door to talk with visitors and determine if they are OK to gain admission.

Brader said Police Department officials met over the last several months with officials from the four districts to develop the protocol and to assist with grants for purchasing some of the surveillance equipment.

He said external cameras would also be linked via Internet access to the Police Department, where any suspicious or criminal activity can be immediately seen.

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