Schools in northwest Indiana give authorities key fobs to help in emergencies

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CROWN POINT, Ind. — Police departments in northwestern Indiana are turning to key fobs to electronically unlock doors at local schools so officers can quickly enter during emergencies.

The newly implemented system in Crown Point gives officers access to all doors at every school in the district. Officers will also be issued a school ID card, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported .

Officers previously had to enter through the main doors and be buzzed into the building, said Crown Point Police Chief Pete Land. The department wanted to put a plan in place for emergency situations, such as a school shooting, he said.

“We proposed (to the schools) that we need to have immediate access to every entry point that they have,” Land said. “With everything going on in today’s society, we have to plan for this.”

While officers will have all-hours access to school facilities, they’re not allowed to use their access for personal business.

St. John, Valparaiso, Michigan City and Portage police also use key fobs or magnetic cards to access schools. Key fobs are small security devices with a built-in authentication system.

“For the purpose of emergency response to the school by fire or police personnel, immediate access to the threat, be it a fire, a violent person or a medical emergency, is critical to minimize the danger or provide timely medical treatment,” said St. John Police Chief James Kveton. “Having access keys in the hands of all emergency responders is critical to accomplish that goal.”

Porter County police also use emergency fobs and keys. County police have apps to quickly communicate about active-shooter situations or threats, and also have access to closed-circuit television.

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