University spends $35,195 on door barricades

The university ordered 800 door barricade devices to be installed on the Lincoln Park and Loop campus classrooms in order to secure doors from outside threats, like active shooter situations.

The university paid $35,195 in a quantity order, according to a Nightlock representative.

In an email to the DePaul community, Director of Public Safety Bob Wachowski said the installations may be used if gunshots are heard or if speakers and message boards declare a lockdown situation. He added that Facilities Operations will be working throughout the quarter to complete the project.

The barricades were ordered in October 2016, according to a representative from Nightlock door security devices. But the installations were not announced to the DePaul community via email until Jan. 11, 2017. Each barricade retails for $59.95 but the university received a discount in a quantity order according to a Nightlock representative.

The door barricade is a small metal device inserted into doors to block outside threats.

In a statement given to The DePaulia, Wachowski said the installations are now being added to security measures because the university is always looking for ways to improve safety.

“We identified door barricades as a method to improve our current measures and we are putting them in place,” Wachowski said.

Vice President of Facilities Operations Robert Janis said the university plans to install door barricades in every classroom and that all other spaces including conference rooms and offices already have locks.

According to the Public Safety video released, the devices will be located on the side of a professor’s desk and are in a small plastic container marked, “for emergency lockdown use only.” The actual piece used to “barricade” is a piece of metal, and will slip into the bottom corner of a classroom door. The device, when locked in place by a steel plated hole in the floor, can prevent a shooter from entering.

DePaul professors will be able to use their own judgment when an emergency should arise.

A video released by Public Safety demonstrates how the door barricades would be used in the case of an emergency situation.

“As far as I have been instructed, it’s my judgment,” associate professor Paul Booth said. “The safety videos that we watch kind of give instructions saying, ‘here’s what you should do’, ‘here’s the recommendation’, but in a real scenario you don’t know how you would react.”

Booth said that the idea seems like a good one, but that it really gets away from the larger issue.

“It’s a band aid,” Booth said. “The bigger issue is the prevalence of guns in our society, and the lax attitude we have towards them.”

Booth also said that while he watched the video, there is no current system in place to see which professors had watched the video, or to know who is aware of the current installation.

DePaul student Anthony Capra described the new device as a good measure being taken toward safer classrooms. “I think this is a good move by DePaul,” Capra said. “I saw it on a video and it seems to work really well.

I think it’s a good choice to get them because it shows DePaul cares about the student and their safety.”

According to a study conducted by John Hopkins University, of 85 shootings on colleges from 2013 to June 2016, only 2 percent of “undesirable discharges of firearms” involved rampage shooters.

(All photos courtesy of DEPAUL UNIVERSITY)

“I think it’s a good idea,” professor Jill Hopke said. “I was not aware of the barricade options in this classroom. Perhaps it can be better communicated with faculty and students that these changes are being made.”

According to the DePaul University Public Safety lockdown building procedure, which is located on the emergency plan webpage, the idea of a lockdown is to change a classroom into a large ‘saferoom.’ The decision to go to lockdown procedure, is only in the extreme case scenario of imminent danger to students or staff.

“I think it’s a great idea, and I actually think that its coming to DePaul a little late,” DePaul student Abigail Flores said. “I think it’s something we probably should have done over a year ago, ever since it’s become more common with these attacks that are happening around the country.”