Public Safety director displays door safety device system to MAPS board

Manistee City Public Safety director David Bachman demonstrates the use of the Nightlock Lockdown system to the Manistee Area Public Schools Board of Education. The easy to install system attaches to doors and keeps them secure in the event an intruder tries to break into a classroom. The district is moving forward to raise funds to purchase them for the classroom doors.

Manistee City Public Safety director David Bachman demonstrates the use of the Nightlock Lockdown system to the Manistee Area Public Schools Board of Education. The easy to install system attaches to doors and keeps them secure in the event an intruder tries to break into a classroom. The district is moving forward to raise funds to purchase them for the classroom doors.

MANISTEE — With all the incidents of violence viewed in the national media on a daily basis something that has become a major priority of all school districts is safety.

City of Manistee Public Safety Director David Bachman came before the Manistee Area Public Schools Board of Education on Wednesday evening with an affordable proposal that will add to the safety of their students. Bachman brought to the board the Nightlock Lockdown system that is produced by the Taylor Brothers Door Lock Company.

The device connects to the bottom of classroom doors and the floor with a mechanism a teacher can activate to prevent intruders from getting into the classroom. Bachman demonstrated the process of securing the device to board members.

“I don’t work for Nightlock, but this is a device that I saw at a conference two weeks ago and was so impressed with it that I knew immediately it would work in our schools,” said Bachman. “This is the simplest lock attachment device that I have seen.”

Bachman said most of the boot and other similar type devices run between $250 and $400 per door. He said the cost of this device is $49 per door if less than 50 are purchased and $39 a door if more than 50 are purchased at a time.

The design of the device is simple as one part bolts to the interior side of the door and the other is bolted into the floor. The third piece which is kept in an easy to access location is then slid into the device in an emergency sealing off the door so solidly it can’t be kicked in.

“We put six of these in city hall last week,” he said. “If there is a lockdown emergency situation all they have to do is drop that piece into the door and they are done. No one is going to get through that door and you don’t even have to lock that door handle. You can beat on it with sledge hammer and no one is going to get in.”

Bachman explained law enforcement officials know people who commit violence in schools and work places don’t mess around with doors or locks on rooms they can’t get into.

“If they are going down a hallway, they are trying to find the maximum number of targets they can find in the least amount of time,” he said. “If you had a shooter and got this device in, they would not get in and it would save lives.”

Bachman added the quickness of securing the device can make a difference.

“You don’t have to be looking for keys to lock the door from the outside,” he said.

He added that the devices do not become a hazard in the event of a fire.

“We are under the jurisdiction of the state fire marshal and I contacted them and they said these are in compliance,” he said.

Bachman said he would like to get a pilot program going at Madison and Jefferson elementary schools right away to see how it looks and works.

“My thoughts are I would like to meet with the parent organizations and get the kids to sponsor the rooms of their kids,” he said.

MAPS superintendent Ron Stoneman said Kennedy Elementary School Principal Kevin Schmutzler is already working on a slushie and popcorn fundraisers with the proceeds going toward the purchase of the devices. He said they also are drafting a letter to the parents explaining the program.

“We feel with two of those fundraisers we could raise a lot of the money,” said Stoneman.

Bachman said it is important to him to make sure the kids of this area are safe.

“It’s something we can do quickly and easily,” he said. “There is even a special tool in the the event that students accidently lock themselves in. At the city our EMS has that tool and at a school every building were have their own and every maintenance group would have their own. Probably West Shore Ambulance and Filer Fire as well would have one.”

The device is so simple, according to Bachman, that it is hard to say no to the security it brings.

“I met with (Trinity Lutheran Principal) Chuck Dillon on Friday and am meeting with Manistee Catholic Central on Friday,” he said. “My hope is to have every school in the town done this year and then take it to the county schools.”

Stoneman said the district ordered one and placed it into the Kennedy School building to show people what it looks like and how it works.

Board members asked how long it took to install the system and who would do it. Maintenance supervisor Phil Roskoski said it took about 45 minutes for one person to install the one they have, but said that could easily be cut to about 20 minutes to 30 minutes after doing it several times.

Shooting statistics speak volumes said Bachman, and he pointed out how numb the public is unfortunately becoming to random mass shootings.

“The shooting the other day when the Kalamazoo shooting took place the other day that was the 42nd shooting since Jan. 1 and I couldn’t name eight of them because we are so desensitized to it. I think if we can prevent it, why not?”

The board agreed to move forward with the fundraising efforts.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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