California

In Wake of Deadly Campus Shooting, UCLA Considers Remote Controlled Door Locks

UCLA is looking into a system that would lock classroom doors remotely from a central location, following a deadly shooting on campus last month.

The university has taken several steps since the murder-suicide to try to prevent another tragedy. That includes establishing a task force on campus violence. But the security of classroom became paramount after many students and staff said they didn't feel safe when they were hiding.

Many felt the classroom hiding places during the shooting had a potentially fatal flaw: doors that couldn't be locked. Students improvised with belts and desks and chairs.

The door-locking system would be the first of its kind in the nation - but a security expert is concerned about who it might keep out.

"If you push a button you're not going to be able to get inside a classroom and you may have to find a classroom with students inside that will let you in," said Jeff Zisner of AEGIS Security Investigations.

Zisner, who helps schools and businesses with active shooter training, likes the Bruin alerts that texted information and updates during the lockdown, but feels the money might be better spent improving current systems.

"The first step would be putting in locks that are effective, being able to produce mass communication devices or systems that would be able to get you in contact with all of your students, and perhaps training them as well," he said.

A remote locking system would have also to meet fire codes that require doors can be opened from the inside in one motion. But one student told us such a system is better than improvising.

UCLA is looking at installing the locking system for about 230 classrooms at a cost of about $1 million. A committee is expected to make a recommendation to the chancellor by the beginning of September.

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