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Mid-Del adding weapon detection system for events

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

Mid-Del Schools is upgrading security.

The district is adding weapon detection systems at gyms, stadiums and performing arts centers. The new portable systems will be put into place for the 2023-24 school year.

The board of education last week approved purchasing a new system from Digi Security System. The district is buying 20 portable concealed weapon detectors. The walk-through devices are like those used at many large events in the metro.

Mid-Del implemented new security protocols for events following a shooting last month at a Del City High School basketball game. Events are only open to students and fans cannot bring large bags. Superintendent Rick Cobb said the district had been looking to improve security at events but the incident at the Del City basketball game was the catalyst.

“Having extra security measures at events is something that is consistent with Oklahoma City Thunder basketball games, events at the Civic Center and OU games. It’s the standard, unfortunately,” Cobb said.

Ed Daniel, school board member, asked at the Feb. 13 meeting if the district needed to hire additional personnel to utilize the weapon detection system. Larry Stephens, safety and security director for the district, said the district has event staff and security that will handle the weapon detection system. That includes school staff as well as law enforcement officers.

“There will be training and protocols for staff to follow,” Stephens said.

Daniel expressed concern about what would happen if a weapon was detected.

“We should think about this process because if that goes off a person actually has a weapon, do we want our staff engaging in that?” Daniel asked.

Cobb said the district has law enforcement officers at each event that will assist in the process. He also noted that Oklahoma City and Putnam City school districts have added weapon detection systems.

The district will pay nearly $400,000 for the weapon detection system. The cost is $19,493.90 per unit with an additional one-time fee of $2,500 for training. The total cost is $398,478 that will be paid for from the district’s general fund.

Cobb said they hope to begin training by the end of the school year.

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