Lessons from Campus Safety Director of the Year Finalist Michael Reidenbach
Michael Reidenbach, Executive Director of Security and Emergency Management for the Charleston County School District 3999 in North Charleston, SC, spent a significant portion of his police career working with schools and universities as a campus police officer and school resource officer (SRO.) Reidenbach became a recent finalist for K-12 Campus Safety Director of the Year in his director role with the Charleston County School District. He joined the latest episode of School Safety Today by Raptor Technologies with host Bobby Brill to discuss his devotion to students, safety, and the surrounding community.
Unlike police, who must react to situations, Reidenbach’s role takes a proactive approach within the school and community environment to build a strong foundation and foster a positive relationship between all parties. And in Reidenbach’s case, he’s in charge of a team that covers over 50,000 students. “Our school resource officers help us immensely in that regard, and we’re fortunate to have those great community partnerships,” Reidenbach said. “But then it’s about evaluating your needs and ensuring that you have the programs and resources in place to address those needs.”
One of Reidenbach’s team’s most vital responsibilities is emergency preparedness and planning in the school district. “Over the past couple of years, we undertook a significant project to rewrite our emergency operations plan completely, and that process starts with conducting an assessment,” Reidenbach said. These plans include assessing and addressing resource needs and working with a multidisciplinary team to create and deploy the program.
As part of Reidenbach’s plan, every school staff member in the district goes through a safety briefing from his office. His district also does bi-annual staff training on emergency procedures, and then Reidenbach offers additional training sessions principals can take advantage of for their staff meetings. “Additionally, we have drills throughout the year on a variety of different hazards,” Reidenbach said. “We want to provide the training and reinforce that training through the drills and exercises we conduct.”
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