Jewish Community Campus improves security with new line of defense



Emily Welsh

KMBC 9 News Anchor

A teacher or staff member can use their fingerprint to activate the SafeDefend system.

Former school principal’s SafeDefend active shooter system installed at Jewish Community Center, target of 2014 Overland Park shootings

Every student, teacher and staff member deserves the greatest opportunity to get home from school safely, said Jeff Green, founder of SafeDefend.

Jeff Green, SafeDefend

Jeff Green, SafeDefend

Green’s security solution — an active shooter response system that sends alerts throughout a school community, as well as detailed information to law enforcement, within seconds of an incident — recently was installed at the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy and Jewish Community Center’s Child Development Center.

“Our system is designed to basically reduce law enforcement’s response time, to get in there much more quickly, and give the students and staff the ability to survive those critical three to five minutes until law enforcement arrives,” said Green, who founded the Gardner security firm after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, in which 20 children and six adults were killed.

“[SafeDefend] also addresses the fact that no matter how good the outside building security is, the most likely threat is going to be somebody who’s already inside,” added Green, a former elementary school principal with stints in Ottawa and DeSoto.

The Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and Village Shalom independent senior living center in Overland Park were the targets of an April 13, 2014, shooting that took the lives of three people. More recently, an unrelated incident in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, saw a gunman kill at least 11 worshippers during a prayer service at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue, according to still-developing media reports.

“The more information and the more quickly we get it, the safer we can keep our community,” said Chuck Green, community-wide security director for Kansas City’s Jewish community, a former Secret Service agent with more than 30 years of experience. “The SafeDefend system allows us to improve our response time and security awareness. My job is to make this community a safer, more secure place for everyone to enjoy, and this system is a critical tool in helping us achieve this goal.”

Security enhancements like the SafeDefend installation were made possible by a grant from the Morgan Family Foundation. The response system is one of a number of proactive security steps taken after the 2014 shootings, according to a press release.

About SafeDefend: The SafeDefend system uses multiple communication methods to communicate specific details of a crisis situation to local police and onsite staff. Police and staff are immediately notified of the specific location of the crisis in a detailed text and/or email, a 911 call is placed, and audible sirens and warning lights notify onsite staff and visitors. Staff is provided with training and tools to survive the crisis until help arrives.