Raptor system screens visitors on campus for security risks

Photo by William Woody— A driver’s license of a visitor is checked with a new Raptor security system at Montrose High School Wednesday afternoon.



MONTROSE — A new, computerized security system is giving school administration officials the upper hand in determining if school visitors pose a risk to students, officials say.

The Montrose County School District RE-1J has installed a software system called the “Raptor” at all elementary, middle and high schools within the district.

Each time a visitor checks in at the main office, his or her driver’s license is scanned into a computer.

The computer instantaneously completes a background check, searching for histories of violent crime, weapons offenses and crimes against children. If such offenses are found, the computer screen will turn red, indicating the person poses a risk.

Visitors who are cleared through the system will be issued a hall pass with their picture, name and time of check-in printed on it. If the screen turns red, an automated text message is sent to administrators on campus. The individuals are then brought into the office to meet with school officials.

The use of police is only used in extreme cases, or when parents or guardians are illegally taking a child from campus. It is up to an administrator to decide if a police presence is necessary.

“We try to not make a scene if an individual is flagged; we try and sit down with them and discuss the circumstances,” said Montrose high school secretary Tammy Sitton. “We don’t usually call the police because when that person shows up, they haven’t yet committed a crime.”

Sitton said all visitors, including parents, who are flagged in the system are treated the same through school policy.

If a child’s parent or guardian is flagged, but has a legal right to the child, it is up to school administrators to sit down with the parent to determine the best course of action.

Montrose High School has a student body of 1,350 students, and ensuing their safety, according to principal James Barnhill, is of the highest priority.

“It gives us a clear indication of who we’re dealing with and who we’re letting into our building,” Barnhill said.

According to RE-1J Chief Financial Officer Karin Slater, 10 schools were equipped with the system at a price tag of about $5,200 per school for the first year of operation. This includes the computers, scanners and printers.

An annual operation cost of $2,505.75 for each school for the system will take effect starting next year.

Montrose High School also installed a new electric door system and reception window for visitors checking in.


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