For parents, teachers and school administrators, student safety has always been of paramount importance. Not only do we want to provide an outstanding education for our children, we want to do it within the safest, most secure environment possible. But while campus security has long been a top priority, it has never been more of a top-of-mind concern than it is today.
In response to the tragic events seen on campuses across the nation over the past few years, SVC has doubled-down on our security efforts — all of which are overseen by Director of Campus Security, Lou Gutierrez. Mr. Gutierrez came to SVC with over 30 years of experience as a law enforcement officer. He has served as a patrol officer, an investigator, and a manager in various agencies. He has an extensive background in dignitary security, site security, and threat assessment. Mr. Gutierrez has taught criminal justice as an adjunct professor at University of Redlands, where he also earned an MA in Management from the School of Business.
Tasked with developing SVC’s overall security plan, Mr. Gutierrez has taken a methodical approach to establishing priorities for our security initiatives. “We need to be strategic about things,” said Mr. Gutierrez. “We need to establish priorities and there needs to be a good reason behind everything we do.”
Given this overarching philosophy, it is not surprising that one of the first things Mr. Gutierrez did when he got to SVC was a “risk assessment” — a process which helped him identify potential hazards and risk factors. He also reviewed a campus assessment performed in May 2018 by Global Guardian, a nationally-recognized security firm. Collectively, these two evaluations have provided him with a good springboard from which to operate. “We looked at the big picture and zeroed in on the priorities which would be most beneficial,” he said.
Mr. Gutierrez is a big believer in collaborative effort, something which served him well during his three decades in law enforcement. He has established a working relationship with the campus security director at neighboring JSerra High School, is working closely with the Resource Officer assigned to us by the O.C. Sheriff’s Department, has established a network of security directors at neighboring businesses and organizations, and meets with San Juan Capistrano city staff members. He also envisions building a volunteer team within the SVC community to help bolster security at school events, such as athletic games.
Mr. Gutierrez has also be involved in implementing several other initiatives, some of which include:
HERO Curriculum – SVC has purchased this program to help train students how to respond in the case of an active shooter. The goal is for students to understand how to respond instinctively if the worst should happen.
Campus Access – The front entry gate is the only point of access to SVC during the school day. Every other exterior door is locked down. Visitor management software and a buzzer/intercom has been added to provide an additional layer of protection at the front gate. The preschool entrance has a similar intercom/video system in place.
Surveillance – Up to 8 security cameras will be installed at various points on our campus. The camera system will be tied to key individual’s smartphones (including Mr. Gutierrez) and desktops, so personnel can monitor all points of our campus at all times.
SVC Head of School, Erick Streelman, couldn’t be more pleased with the appointment of Mr. Gutierrez to this critical position. “As blessed as we are to have a person of Lou’s professional stature and experience overseeing this vitally important role, we are equally blessed to have someone who loves both the Lord and our school family wholeheartedly,” said Mr. Streelman.
Mr. Gutierrez, a former basketball coach and parent at our school, said he considers SVC to be “home.” “I am honored to be entrusted with the security and safety of the students, faculty and staff,” he said.
Additional Perspective on Campus Safety from Mr. Streelman:
“Finally, let’s all remember that it is our duty to do everything that we can within our power; we do not live in a spirit of fear. God has protected us and we must believe that He will continue to do so. This is His school and we place the safety of these students in His hands. Please continue to pray that God will keep our kids safe. If you have any questions regarding the process, our security measures, or any other thoughts or ideas, please feel free to reach out to Mr. Gutierrez directly. His email is email@example.com.”