As all security experts know, one of the basic principles utilized in securing buildings or institutions is controlling access onto the property and into building by using basic security measures such as security officers, fencing, bars on windows or electronic access control systems. Whether the goal is to prevent theft, identify unauthorized persons or to reduce the opportunity for violence, access control helps funnel people into entrances so they can be screened and identified while keeping unauthorized persons from accessing facilities without detection. It is an integral part of any security program and, when implemented with other security strategies, it can help to restrict, alert or identify anyone who is set on gaining entry into a facility. However, not fool-proof, physical security measures like locking doors and screening persons will not stop the person who is resolute on gaining entry into a building. Like in the case of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, stopping a crazed gun man from entering a grammar school or any building for that matter is difficult.
The Newtown shooting is the perfect example of access control that was easily overcome by a troubled yet determined individual. And while government officials work out the details of gun control and the status of our behavioral health strategy there remains many schools that are feeling vulnerable. Many local and state governments have mandated security systems and the use of uniformed, armed personnel to be situated in schools to reduce the feeling of vulnerability felt by teachers, students and parents, and provide a proactive strategy in violence reduction.