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Private security expert weighs in on Utah school security following hoax school shooting calls

Posted at 10:16 PM, Mar 29, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Fake active shooter calls took place across the country on Wednesday, including calls to more than a dozen schools in Utah.

State and federal agencies believe one person is behind the fake active shooter calls that sent Utah schools into lockdown on Wednesday.

"My daughter said the cops came in and had her put her hands up just to check them and that's terrifying," said Erin Schuda, a parent of a Spanish Fork High School student.

It created not just tense moments for parents, but also for several school districts across the state.

"All of our staff followed our procedure to ensure that the students were safe and cooperated directly with the police department and looked to their guidance, which was tremendous in this incident," said Luke Rasmussen, Ogden City School District Superintendent.

FOX 13 News spoke with Derek Evans, who is the Senior Vice President of CBI Security Services, a contract security company in Salt Lake.

We asked Evans if he feels Utah schools are safe right now.

No, I don't think, a school that doesn't have a program that's going be effective is safe," said Evans. "This is just becoming an epidemic and the only way not to become a victim of it is to address it directly."

A possible solution, Evans says, could be providing a security officer at schools, who is there specifically to handle an active shooter scenario.

"It's a visible deterrent, but if you're going to do that, make sure you keep your officer actively moving," said Evans. "If you somebody who knows what they're doing and knows how to engage, it's going to reduce the time by a critical amount."

In all, Evans says CBI employs 400 to 450 people to provide armed and unarmed security officers for a variety of venues across Idaho, Utah and Arizona.

He says just about every time there is an active shooter situation at a school, inquiries about their services come in.

"The individual called, they were in Idaho, we do have an office in Idaho, they were with a private school, and they just asked if, you know, we could provide security for the school," said Evans.

Evans pointed out that security services do come at a cost.

He says a ballpark figure to hire one security officer for a school would be about $3,200 a week.

"One of the things that I think holds schools back from putting a security team in is costs," said Evans.

FOX 13 News asked Evans how this affects CBI Security Services business plan to be more available for institutions, like schools, that may want to hire security.

"What has to be set up is a specific training program and officer screening program for school security, It's totally different type of security," said Evans.

The school shooting hoax calls come just days after six people, including three children, were shot and killed inside a Nashville school.