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Rose-Hulman Ventures Contributes to SafeVisitor System That's Prepared to Improve School Security & Safety

Thursday, December 18, 2014

First Line Of School Safety: Rose-Hulman Ventures helped develop Safe Hiring Solutions' SafeVisitor product. The management system helps schools screen and keep track of school visitors. (Photo by Shawn Spence)

Rose-Hulman Ventures is contributing to the creation of safer Indiana schools through development of a new security system that keeps sex offenders, criminals, and other unwanted visitors from gaining access to buildings and children.

SafeVisitor is a visitor management system offered by Safe Hiring Solutions, an industry leader in providing the most thorough background checks, employment screenings, and personal investigations and verifications.

The Indiana company sought assistance from Rose-Hulman Ventures' project managers and Rose-Hulman student interns to apply the screening technology to individual schools and school corporations.

The system scans government-issued identifications, such as a driver's license, to check against an internal database, the National Sex Offender Registry. If verification is approved, a school visitor badge is created that logs the person's time of entry. The badge is scanned and recorded when the person leaves the building, helping school officials to keep better track of which visitors are currently in the building in the case of an emergency.

SafeVisitor is already being used in the administration building for Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS), one of Indiana's largest school corporations, and should be a part of the security system in eight schools by the end of December. The remaining of the district's 51 schools and other administrative buildings will be added in the future, according to Krista Stockman, FWCS's public information officer.

"About 1 1/2 years ago we hired a new security director who was looking into ways to increase security in the buildings," Stockman explains. "We began using this one as a pilot in the administration building in April."

The system allows an instant background check-usually within one minute-and helps the school district to share information district-wide. "If there has been an incident with someone at one building, all of our buildings will now know about that," says Stockman.

Several other Indiana school systems have partnered with Safe Hiring Solutions on the SafeVisitor and SafeVolunteer background search systems to promote a safe and healthy educational environment for children.

Rose-Hulman Ventures has been another valuable project partner, with project manager Nathan Weir and his team of student interns working with Safe Hiring Solutions and school officials to modify the SafeVisitor system to meet desired needs.

"Nathan and the student interns have been eager, interested, and committed about the project, but not overly opinionated, which we had experienced during the vetting process with other development firms before selecting on Rose-Hulman Ventures," states Mike McCarty, Safe Hiring Soution's founder and chief executive officer.

SafeVisitor could also have applications for corporations, hospitals, churches, property owners, leasing managers, and non-profit organizations across the country-and around the world.

Elizabeth Hagerman, PhD, vice president for Rose-Hulman Ventures, is excited to see the project become commercialized and having a positive impact in the market place.

"Interns gained valuable experience that included maintaining a live platform and responding to tight deadlines," she says. "It's fulfilling to know the efforts of Rose-Hulman Ventures staff and interns will lead to safer and more secure environments for students in Indiana."

Hagerman is a 2000 Rose-Hulman chemical engineering graduate while Weir earned a bachelor's degree in computer science from the institute in 2012, and began his association with Rose-Hulman Ventures as a student intern in 2008.

Started by Rose-Hulman in 2000, Rose-Hulman Ventures delivers innovative engineering solutions for a diverse clientele of partners in a variety of industry sectors. It is located in a 35,000 square-foot facility on the institute's South Campus that features professional-level laboratory equipment, engineering tools, machine shops, and client workspaces.