How Current Are SafeVisitor Background Check Checks?

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Visitor management systems are vital for protecting schools and businesses from people that should not be there. It is always important to have a safe environment in schools, so all school visitors need to be checked against the Sex Offender Registry. SafeVisitor Solutions ensures that regular sex offender checks are maintained of all visitors in order to keep children safe.

Every single visitor who enters a school using SafeVisitor Solutions is required to scan their state issued ID. The scan will instantaneously run that person against the National Sex Offender Registry. Right then and there, the system will either accept or deny the visitor entry into the school. The Sex Offender Registry is continuously updated, so the registry is always current and reliable. Here is a short description of how the process works:

  1. The visitor enters the building and scans a state issued ID at the attendant’s station.

  2. The system instantly checks the visitor against the Sex Offender Registry, and the result appears on the attendant's computer screen.

  3. If accepted, the visitor is free to enter the building.

  4. If denied for any reason, the attendant is able to see this and can take the appropriate action.

With an instantaneous check against an updated Sex Offender Registry, the school can be certain that the building is safe, and that all visitors in the building have been thoroughly checked. If you would like to learn more about SafeVisitor Solutions, please join us for a free webinar! Please click here to register!

 

How Does Geo-Fence Expand Your Security Perimeter?

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In today’s world, security is always a topic of discussion for any organization. With the recent tragedy in Las Vegas, this topic will be discussed by many people over the next several weeks. There is no one method of security that works for everyone. Every organization has to evaluate their facilities, events, and business culture to determine the right mix of security options that will accomplish their goals.

At SafeVisitor, we take security seriously. We take it so seriously that we have formed an Advisory Board that includes a Secret Service Agent, a Cybersecurity Expert, and others who work or have worked in various areas of law enforcement and technology.  

Expanding your security perimeter is one way to have more control over how close people can get to your facilities before being recognized. One tool we use for this at SafeVisitor is Geofencing.

What is Geofencing?

“Geofencing” is a term that is foreign to many people. In simple terms, a geofence is a GPS hotspot. It is similar to a Wi-Fi hotspot that you would purchase from a phone carrier to give you Internet access within so many feet of the hotspot. Our SafeVisitor Visitor Management System, paired with our free mobile app, utilizes geofencing to alert you when someone with the app on their phone approaches your building.

Setting up a geofence is a simple process and does not require any additional hardware. First, you must determine the area you want to cover at a location. You may want to cover the entire building, the building plus parking, or maybe just the front entrance. Once that has been determined, the geofence is active and ready to be used.

To fully utilize the geofence in SafeVisitor, a few things have to be done by the person who has been vetted by your organization. They must :

  • Download the SafeVisitor mobile app. This app is available in both Apple and Android stores.

  • Enter their SafeVisitor badge ID number that they would have received via email and the email address they used to register with SafeVisitor.

Once completed, if they have visited a building before,  they will see their badge in the app along with their picture.

That is all that’s needed. When a person comes for a visit, they will open the app and make sure that Location Services is turned on. When they approach the building and step inside the geofence hotspot area, the attendant will see them on their dashboard in the Visitors Nearby tab. The moment they are within that hotspot, the system will log them in the Nearby Log. The attendant can choose to leave them in the Visitors Nearby tab or click the arrow next to them and check them into SafeVisitor. Either way, their arrival to your location has been logged by the system in an efficient manner.

Using a geofence can expand the perimeter of a location to allow you to see people on your property before they actually arrive at the front door. It’s just one tool that can be used in the security plan for your organization.

If you are interested in learning more about how SafeVisitor can protect your organization, you can sign up for a webinar by clicking HERE.

Top 5 Problems with Vendor Background Checks

Vendor background checks is an area that still exposes organizations to a lot of risk.  Most organizations have a policy on requiring vendor background checks, but do they actually audit this process or even understand how to audit the process?

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When evaluating the security of organizations, the first line of defense is to always know exactly who is entering the facilities. Employees are a priority for screening, but often visitors, vendors, and volunteers are screened at a much lower level or not even screened at all.

I recently spoke with a friend who works for a large multi-state law firm.  She is an attorney in their Government Relations Group.  With that role, it is not uncommon for her to be working after hours. On more than one occasion, she has bumped into a man working for the cleaning contractor and had no idea who he was or if he had a violent criminal history.

Her experience pinpoints a serious problem for organizations.  Would her employer be held liable if she was harmed on their property by a vendor who had a violent criminal history?  Quite possibly.

Let’s look at 5 problems with vendor background checks:

  1. Self Certification.  This is the most common form of vendor credentialing.  Companies require their vendors to conduct employee background checks, and then certify to them that they have done so.  How can these companies ensure compliance has been conducted with an acceptable level of screening?
  2. Definition of “Background Check”.  There is not a standard definition of what constitutes a background check.  How does a company ensure that their vendors require the same level and depth of screening?  To do so requires specific documentation or clearly defined requirements that are supplied IN WRITING to vendors and followed by periodic audits.
  3. Date of Background Check. Are vendors conducting regular background checks on their employees?  Many organizations only require background checks when an employee is hired.  What protocols are in place for checking employees that have been employed for 10 or 20 years?
  4. E-verify/ Legal Right to Work.  The federal government’s E-verify program is being increasingly  legislated across the U.S. for organizations that provide services to cities, states, or the federal government- including schools.  This is not a service that can be conducted by a third party.  Employers are the only entity that can conduct E-verify, and it must be done within the first 3 days of employment.  So E-verify is a post-hire check.  It is important that vendors provide a Letter of Agreement stipulating that they are using the E-verify program (if this is a requirement for your organization).
  5. Privacy Issues.  The recent Equifax breach has certainly raised the awareness of millions of Americans to the possibility of their personal information ending up in the wrong hands. Privacy issues are a concern when conducting vendor background checks.  One option would be to include any third parties in an Authorization Form, so the information can be shared with business partners who have a business necessity.

SafeVisitor has created a SafeVendor module that makes this process secure and comprehensive while removing policy concerns.  SafeVendor has a policy requirement to be able to be SafeVendor Certified.  Once you are certified, then any organization using SafeVisitor can check a vendor to ensure there is a completed background check.

To ensure strict privacy restrictions, SafeVisitor does not share the background screening report with third parties, but only shares the vendor’s ID badge, photo, and certification that stipulates the level of background check completed and passed

Join us for a webinar to learn more about how SafeVisitor and SafeVendor can help protect your organization while at the same time protecting the privacy rights of your vendors.

Creating a Volunteer Background Screening Consortium

As an active member of a community do you ever get the feeling that you are nickel-and-dimed when trying to volunteer for multiple organizations? One organization requires an “X” background check while another one requires a “Y” background check ?

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Have you ever turned down the opportunity to volunteer because you’ve already paid for two separate background checks, and you are unwilling to pay for, or to go thru the hassle, for yet another one within the SAME community? As an organization, have you lost quality potential volunteers for this very reason?  

If you answered, “Yes,” to any of the above questions, there is a solution that can make volunteering seamless between organizations within your community. It will also allow multiple organizations to maximize the availability of volunteers within a community without creating a monetary or  management nightmare.

SafeHiring has developed a solution using our background services plus our SafeVisitor software that remedies these problems for an entire community. The solution is for similar organizations to create a Volunteer Consortium. What is a consortium? Well, it’s just a fancy word to describe an agreement among groups to accomplish something that is beyond the resources of any single member of the group. In this case, that would be vetting and tracking all the available approved volunteers within a community.

What is needed for an effective Volunteer Consortium?

  • Groups to participate

  • Agreement on background check criteria

  • Consensus on who will vet the volunteer applications

At first, you might think that getting all the groups in your community to agree to participate in a consortium is difficult . . . and you would be correct. It can be challenging; therefore,you wouldn’t want to begin building your consortium with too many groups. As the old saying goes, “Don’t try to eat the whole elephant!” You could start with just a couple of organizations that you know share many of the same volunteers. You might want to assign one of the organizations to vet all the volunteers, or have a company like SafeHiring Solutions do that for you. There is no need for each organization to vet because of the guidelines agreed upon and shared by all groups.

At SafeHiring Solutions we have the consortium model already working in Indiana. We provide a link through our SafeVisitor volunteer management software for a volunteer to apply. Once they have submitted their application, their background check is performed, and vetted by SafeHiring. When approved, the checks are available to be viewed within SafeVisitor by all participating organizations. That volunteer is now available to every organization in the consortium within SafeVisitor. Depending on the groups involved, that means a parent volunteer at school can also be approved for coaching a sport or volunteering at a local church, festival, etc. Since everyone in the consortium has agreed to the conditions for volunteers, there is no need for additional vetting or cost, regardless of which organization in the consortium they are volunteering for.

We have found that once a consortium is started, local non-participating organizations soon express interest in becoming participants. They find it’s a very easy way to manage their volunteer pool within their community. They can be confident that each person has been fully vetted, and there is no need for additional applications or cost to the volunteer. They are ready to go!

If you would like to learn more about how Safe Hiring Solutions and SafeVisitor can help you to manage your volunteers, you can click HERE to sign up for a webinar to learn more about SafeVisitor.

Are You Keeping Students Safe with a Quality Visitor Management System?

There can never be too much safety for our schools. As technology advances, it is vital for schools to make technological advances as well. A main advancement that many schools are implementing is a visitor management system.

Visitor management systems not only keep children safe, but they also provide a sense of comfort for your district’s parents. SafeVisitor Solutions can provide safety for your school, comfort for parents, and organization for the school’s office. Here are a few key features that SafeVisitor offers:

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  • Monitors temporary visitors by checking the visitor’s identification against the National Sex Offender Registry in a matter of seconds.

  • If cleared for entry, SafeVisitor will print a time-expiring badge for the visitor.

  • The software allows the school’s attendant to know who is in the building at all times.

  • SafeVisitor Solutions can screen and manage school volunteers.

These features are only a few that SafeVisitor Solutions offers to keep schools safe. Along with the features listed above, the software can also manage existing employee background checks along with all background checks for any vendors that come into the school. These features ensure that anyone in contact with students on school grounds, is thoroughly checked and vetted.

With SafeVisitor, schools are able to manage the safety of students and teachers with ease. With SafeVisitor Solutions, both safety and visitor management will be enhanced in a more organized and efficient manner. If your school does not have the latest in a visitor management system, please check out a webinar on how SafeVisitor Solutions can help your district.

Please click here to register for a free webinar!

Can I Create Multiple Visitor Types in the Visitor Management System?

A visitor management system’s job is to identify and screen any visitors that enter a building. However, not all visitors are the same. This means that not all visitors should be treated and screened in the way. Some are frequent visitors such as vendors and part-time employees. Others may only pop-in once or twice a year. Can a visitor management system differentiate between visitors that may have never been within the facility from those who visit more frequently?

We cannot speak for all visitor management systems. However, our SafeVisitor visitor management software does have the ability to distinguish multiple visitor types in a simple and efficient manner. In fact, it is the first option when using the software. Our software main screen has three buttons, with the first two designated to determine the type of visitor.

How we classify different visitors:

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Temporary Visitor:

A temporary visitor is any visitor that does not have frequent access to the building or facility. This would include parents entering a school building, business consultants, and some volunteers.

SafeVisitor ID Badge Visitor:

Visitors identified by a SafeVisitor ID badge are more frequent visitors that already have their existing background checks and vetting on file. This prior vetting means that these individuals no longer need to go through the check-in process each time they arrive at a building/facility. Examples of a SafeVisitor ID badge are janitors, volunteers, and employees.


In addition to the two types of visitors, a temporary visitor that is making a scheduled visit can also bypass the check-in.This can be done through a pre-approval process. For instance, a group of 20 volunteers all arriving at the same time would result in a long check-in line once arriving at the building. To avoid this, each volunteer can pre-register days before the arrival date, and receive vetting and screened beforehand. Once approved, each volunteer can then bypass the check-in with those who have a SafeVisitor ID badge. To expedite the process even more, a link to submit the background check can be added to any organization’s website.

Any visitor within an organization presents a potential liability, no matter how big or how small. Don’t leave security to chance - be proactive and screen any type of visitor with SafeVisitor.

Join our weekly webinar to learn more about how SafeVisitor can protect your visitors:

https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/4163182413889495042

Can Visitor Management System Take a New Photo Each Time Visitor Enters?

As the world of technology is ever-changing, it is vital for schools and businesses to keep up with those changes. This is especially true when it comes to visitor management systems. SafeVisitor Solutions is a visitor management system that is cloud based and can therefore make improvements easily and efficiently.

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One important part of a visitor management system that is often overlooked is the capability to take a new photo each time a visitor enters a school or business. People often change in appearance making it especially important to always have an updated photo of every visitor. A few reasons why this is important is:

  • An updated photo can document any recent change in appearance.
  • In the event of a problem arising on site, an updated photo will make it easier to identify when necessary.
  • The updated photo will show the visitor's current dress which, when compared to the image on the badge, can verify that the badge is not expired.
  • The photo can be compared to the driver’s license picture as an added means of identification.

SafeVisitor Solutions software makes the process seamless and efficient. It works like this:

  • The visitor will arrive and walk up to the attendant working the station.

  • The monitor will have a reverse-facing camera directed at the visitor.

  • The visitor will scan his/her license.

  • The attendant will click a button on the screen to snap a picture of the visitor.

  • The updated picture will now be appear in the software.

Although this seems to be an insignificant detail, it can be an important factor in ensuring the safety of schools and businesses. With an updated picture of every visitor in the building, there will be less potential for confusion and more certainty regarding who has entered the premises. This simple process is a vital element in efficient visitor management.

Learn more about SafeVisitor via a free webinar! Click here to register.

How Can a Visitor Management System Keep Visitors Out Until They Are Vetted?

The first step in the security of your organization is controlling who comes in your front door. It seems like such a simple concept, but I am amazed day after day when I visit organizations, ranging from secure facilities to schools, just how little effort is placed into managing visitors.

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As a police officer, one of the first things I tried to accomplish on a call was getting people seated.  Why?

Because when people are seated, they begin to calm down.  Even more importantly, when they were seated, I had more time to react if they decided to resist and rip my head off.

I have always been physically fit and pretty quick, but I was seldom the strongest guy in the room.  My reaction time might be fast but not always fast enough.  There is very little time to react when you already have allowed someone into your personal protective space.

If people are seated, I can see movement, and I can react to that before someone is on top of me. By having everyone seated, I am buying a little extra reaction time.

That is exactly the same concept behind our SafeVisitor Pre-Registration Program.  Why allow a temporary visitor to show up, enter a facility, and stand at the receptionist’s and then realize they are on the Excluded Parties List or on the Sex Offender Registry.

In this situation, space translates into safety.

Create a safe perimeter around your organization by including a link to pre-register for all meetings in your calendar invites.

How does this work?  It is pretty simple.

  • The visitor completes an online registration ahead of the event.

  • SafeVisitor runs a check on your Excluded Parties List.

  • SafeVisitor runs a check of the Sex Offender Registry (optional).

  • Visitors arriving soon are already on a tab on client’s dashboard.

  • Clients can scan a week in advance for any visitors and make sure they passed the background checks.

What if I have a large group?  

  • Use the same link above; or

  • Upload a spreadsheet.

  • All visitors are checked against the Excluded Parties Lists (and Sex Offender Registry if using)

  • Visitors remain in que until they visit.

How does a user register a visitor who has pre-registered?

  • Select the visitor on the Arriving Today tab.

  • Click on Up the arrow.

  • SafeVisitor prints a self-expiring ID badge.

  • If the visitor entered the name, email and/or mobile phone of the employee then SafeVisitor will send the employee an email/text that their visitor has arrived.

  • When visitor exits, they can:

    • Scan their barcode on temporary ID; or

    • User can click on the Down arrow to log out.

Now every visitor interaction is pre-vetted, and you know who they are allowed access to your facility.

If you would like to learn more about SafeVisitor, contact us or join us for a weekly demo by clicking here.

What is the Cost of a Visitor Management System?

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To many background screening firms, when a potential customer asks ‘What is the cost of a visitor management system?’, it may seem like a loaded question. One would assume that the cost to implement such technology is far outside the logical range for something that can be done with pencil and paper. Other visitor management companies may dread getting asked the price of their product, but not us at Safe Hiring Solutions. We like getting asked the question, and we’d like to provide some insight on it.

What makes our visitor management software so unique is that we don’t just have one set cost. We also don’t have one set software. Let me explain.

Our visitor management software (SafeVisitor) can do many different things, including:

 

  • Monitor temporary, infrequent visitors within your facility

  • Manage background checks/rechecks for existing employees and new-hires

  • Screen volunteers to determine who may engage with your company, organization, and/or its constituents

  • Manage background checks for vendors

  • Integrate with Reflynk, a reference checking software for management

  • Implement geofencing technology for increased facility security

Any of the above features can be part of your tailor-made visitor management package. We strive to serve the differing needs of our clients. Our visitor management software price reflects this flexibility of services.

SafeVisitor visitor management system is designed for use by organizations with as few as 30 employees or as many as thousands. We can accommodate nearly any budget, and firmly believe the value of our increased security will outweigh our visitor management software price. With so many different features, we can create the ideal visitor management software for you and your organization.

Click here to sign up for a webinar for more information on how Safe Visitor can increase security for an affordable price.

Or visit us at:

https://safehiringsolutions.com/

https://www.safevisitorsolutions.com/

 

How to Create Visitor Management Excluded Parties Lists

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When managing visitors to a location, especially a school, the focus is usually on keeping out “bad” people – specifically, sex offenders. Sometimes, however, the people you need to keep out of a particular area are not so easily identified.

Temporary restrictions might be necessary for certain life events such as:

  • Spousal Separations

  • Divorce

  • Child Custody issues

  • Court Orders e.g., Restraining Orders

With our SafeVisitor visitor management system, a front desk attendant can seamlessly determine if a person is on the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR) or has a temporary restriction by using an Exclusion List. This exclusion can apply to a single location or at all locations of your organization or campus. Since our software is cloud based, any changes made are instantly applied to all locations within your organization.

When excluding a person, you simply  enter their first and last name. A date of birth (DOB), if known, helps to ensure accuracy, but is not required. You can also specify the reason for the exclusion.

  • Failed Background Check

  • Trespass

  • Terminated Employee

  • Violent or Threatening Behavior

  • Restricted Access

There is an “Other” option where you can type in the exact reason for the person to not be permitted onsite. There is also an option to upload a picture of the person if one is available.

Now, when a visitor enters your facility and scans their drivers license, they will be checked against the NSOR and your Exclusion List.

An exclusion list can be a very important tool from an administrative viewpoint because people don’t always know what’s going on in a coworker’s private life, and that person may not want to share personal issues with their coworkers.

A tragic example of this happened recently in a San Bernardino school. The husband of a teacher supposedly showed up at school to drop off something to his wife, a teacher. Since everyone knew him they let him go to her classroom where he proceeded to pull a gun, kill her, as well as a special needs student before killing himself. It was an incredible tragedy that possibly could have been avoided or minimized had some additional visitor safeguards been in place.

A visitor management system  that utilizes exclusions could have flagged him when he walked in the door and denied him access to the building.

Would you like to learn more about SafeVisitor and managing an exclusion list?  Join us for a free webinar we host each Thursday.  Click here to register.

Visitor Management System: Do You Really Know All of Your Visitors?

When I am talking to small schools about SafeVisitor and visitor management in general, I will hear comments like:

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“I don’t think we really need something like this.”

“Mary works the front desk and she’s lived here all her life.”

“She knows everybody!”

Coming from a large family in a small community, I completely understand that mindset. In a small community, it can seem that everyone knows what’s going on with everyone else . . . or at least they think they do. While I am sympathetic to this point of view, something happened a year and a half ago that caused me to see things differently.

One day we received a frantic call from one of our clients. They had a hit on the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR) for a temporary visitor. “John Doe” had come to school with his wife to have lunch with his stepson. When the possible hit came up on the screen, the picture shown was tagged with a completely different name then the one they’d been given. The secretary was certain that the picture was of the person standing in front of her although the individual appeared to be several years older than the registry picture.

The name on the possible NSOR hit came up as “Tom Buck” (not the actual name). They questioned the guy who agreed there was a resemblance, but maintained it wasn’t him. His wife agreed saying, “His name is John, not Tom”. Apparently not wanting to make a fuss, John said it was ok and they left. His unusual lack of concern alerted the staff to a possible problem, so once they left, I was on the phone again with the staff trying to determine exactly what was going on. It was an interesting story . . .

In SafeVisitor, when a possible hit comes up there is the ability to click on the person and go directly to the NSOR page to get additional information. Initially, there was confusion because while the names didn’t match, the picture was undeniably similar to the man who’d just left. A quick click on the picture and everything was revealed. “John Doe” was an alias of “Tom Buck”. “Tom” had been convicted on multiple charges of violent sexual assault in another state 19 years earlier. Somehow, he was able to get a driver's license under his alias in a neighboring state where he had been living for several years while never registering as a sex offender. Even his wife had no idea about his previous life!

The police were notified, but I have no idea what the final outcome was in this case. I do know SafeVisitor enabled the school to avert the presence of a dangerous individual. When the wife was alerted to her husband’s dangerous history, she too, was able to take steps to protect her family.

This experience was an eye-opener for me, and I now use it as an example whenever I conduct user training. It’s a real-life reminder that you don’t always know who is living in your community or what their past may have been. You can never be too careful when it comes to knowing who is around you, your family, your co-workers, or

your students. With the National Sex Offender Registry and an internal Exclusion List option SafeVisitor can do quite a bit to help ensure that you are aware of who is visiting your school or business. In this instance, social familiarity would have allowed a sex offender to have repeated access to children and no one would have ever been the wiser until something bad happened. When it comes to safety, a proactive plan is always better than a reactive one.

If you are interested in learning more about how SafeVisitor can protect your organization you can sign up for a webinar by going to:

 

Webinar Registration

 

 

 

 

What Is the Best School Visitor Management System?

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Selecting the best school visitor management system is not a simple matter.  Over the years I have worked with schools that have a wide variety of needs and concerns when implementing a visitor management system:

·        Saving time for front office personnel

·        Finding an integrated solution that allows electronic student check in/out

·        Kiosk models so the visitor does all the work

If you are looking for a visitor management system (VMS) to simply improve the efficiency of the front office, then you really don’t need to read any further because I am going to focus on the core components of a VMS from a risk-management perspective. I have spent the past 25 years in risk management. I started as a Violent Crime Detective with a large metropolitan police department. I also served as a Violence Prevention Consultant for organizations such as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Justice.  For the past 13 years, I’ve worked as the Founder and CEO of Safe Hiring Solutions and SafeVisitor.  I have witnessed violence up close and personal and it has shaped my perspective and priorities for keeping people and organizations safe.

Now this does not mean that a visitor management system cannot have integrations with student information systems or other applications for that much needed efficiency.  We do that with our SafeVisitor system.  However, SHS never loses its focus of the foundation of what we are doing i.e.  keeping you and your students safe.

I have a unique perspective as a former detective, and I strongly feel that what I offer that is most valuable to school administrators, is my depth of understanding concerning violent criminals and their methods. I know they can be expected to attempt to enter schools by any means possible e.g. applying for jobs, serving as volunteers, or becoming trusted frequent vendors.

At Safe Hiring Solutions, we have conducted more than 700,000 background checks for schools over the past 13 years. 

Just recently, we flagged an existing school employee who was applying with a new school district.  He had a case of sexual exploitation as well as a substantiated case with the Department of Child Services for child neglect. This man has been teaching for several years.

On a monthly basis, we flag sex offenders that are trying to access schools.  Offenders who harm children are constantly seeking access to children.  Schools are defenseless against these predators without comprehensive risk management solutions.

So when SHS talks about visitor management systems, we are always focused on keeping people who would harm children out of our schools and away from our children. Surprisingly, the majority of organizations I enter each week, schools and non-schools alike, do not have a single tool for managing their flow of visitors beyond a self-disclosing clip board.

The first step in protecting your school, students, and employees is to create a safe perimeter.  Paul Dvorak, SafeVisitor Advisory Board Member and Secret Service Special Agent in Charge of Indianapolis Office, has helped us better understand how critical a safe perimeter is when protecting dignitaries such as the President of the United States.

A school needs to create a safe perimeter between entering the building and visitors.  A clip board on the front office desk is not a safe perimeter.  The safe perimeter has already been breached just by being at the front desk

A self-service kiosk in the lobby is no better than a clipboard.  It does provide a false sense of security that comes with using technology, but there are still a couple of problems:

1.      They are already in your lobby, and

2.      How do you know they are who they register as?

How does SafeVisitor approach perimeter security?

  • Reduce Unexpected/Unknown Visitors.  We work closely with schools to classify their visitors.  Who are they?  Most visitors fall into a category of parent volunteers, partner volunteers, vendors/ contractors, student teachers, and business associates of administrators.  When you work through this list, it becomes apparent that the vast majority of visitors to a school are neither unclassified nor unexpected.
  • Comprehensive Background Checks.  Frequent visitors such as volunteers, vendors, student teachers, and substitutes should submit to a comprehensive background check before receiving clearance to enter the school.  The background check can also be set on a renewal interval of every 2, 3, or 4 years.

 

  • Business Meetings.  Most business meetings are scheduled in advance.  The VMS should accommodate pre-registration for business meetings or low-risk visitors that are not having direct or ongoing contact with students.  Pre-registration allows the visitor to be pre-vetted against an “excluded parties list” and the National Sex Offender Database.
  • GeoFence.  SafeVisitor can create a perimeter around each school building, so that all approved visitors can download a mobile app and activate their ID.  As they cross the geofence, it sends their information to the front office computers for review and verification before buzzing them into the building.
  • Excluded Parties. Each school can create a list of excluded parties based on their own policies.  Anybody on the list attempting to enter the building or grounds will trigger and alert law enforcement, administers, or designated security.
  • National Sex Offender Search.  Schools have the option of running a National Sex Offender Search every time a visitor enters one of their buildings.  Even previously approved visitors who have passed a comprehensive background check can have things happen between visits. This process will flag them.
  • Kiosk with Scanner.  Self-service kiosks do little to improve security.  Used appropriately, a kiosk is best deployed in a vestibule between the doors and requires the visitor to scan in with their SafeVisitor ID or government issued ID.

If you would like a deeper discussion and demonstration on how to use a visitor management system, join us for one of our SafeVisitor weekly demos or setup a personal demo.

Can I manage employee background checks in a visitor management system?

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Are you looking for a quick, efficient way to manage your employee background checks? Because of the House Enrolled Act 1079 in the state of Indiana, schools are required to have their current employees be checked every five years. This requirement is to make sure that anyone in contact with children is being thoroughly checked with an expanded criminal history check on a regular basis.

This is a huge step forward in protecting children and keeping schools safe, but it can be very challenging for school officials to manage. Managing whether or not every employee has been checked in the correct timeframe can be extremely difficult and time consuming. It could also be challenging in keeping up with everyone responded to your email and completed the check when you sent it out to them. Luckily, we have a software that can handle these problems for you.

SafeVisitor Solutions is a visitor management system that can be used to manage employee background checks. SafeVisitor has many other capabilities, but the focus here is on the employment module. If a school district chooses to use this software for the background checks of current employees, it would work like this:

  • The school would provide employee roster in .xls or .csv format

  • We sort that list based on longest tenure divided into 20%/year expiration dates

  • List would be uploaded into Safe Visitor

  • We set the required recheck interval i.e. every 2 yrs, 5 yrs etc.

  • Link would be generated and sent to employee

  • Employee would enter in information for background check

  • Information submitted to Safe Hiring Solutions via Safe Visitor

  • Background Checks performed

  • If no criminal history- auto approve in Safe Visitor

  • If criminal history- noted in Safe Visitor for admin to review

After all of this is completed, the employee will be in the system and will automatically be notified in five when their check is expiring and it is time to complete a new one.

Using this software will not only make the management seamless, but it will also cut down on time and will make it so that it is known that no employee was missed with getting checked. Even though this new act can seem like a lot of work for school officials, it is extremely beneficial to schools and children’s safety.

Would you like to learn more about SafeVisitor and the management of HEA1079? Join us for a free webinar! Click here to register.

Visitor Management: How Can A Geofence Protect My Organization?

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“Geofencing” is a term that is foreign to many people. In simple terms, a geofence is a GPS hotspot. It is similar to a Wi-Fi hotspot that you would purchase from a phone carrier to give you Internet access within so many feet of the hotspot.

Our SafeVisitor Visitor Management System (https://safevisitorsolutions.com) paired with our free mobile app, utilizes geofencing to alert you when someone with the app on their phone is approaching your building.

Let’s discuss how this can be used for additional protection of your organization and provide convenience when checking in people who have previously been vetted by your organization.

Setting up a geofence is a simple process. First, you must determine the area you want to cover at a location. You may want to cover the entire building, the building plus parking, or maybe just the front entrance. Once that has been determined, the geofence is active and ready to be used.

To fully utilize the geofence in SafeVisitor, a few things have to be done by the person who has been vetted by your organization. They must :

  • download the SafeVisitor mobile app. This app is available in both the Apple and Android stores.

  • enter their SafeVisitor badge ID number that they would have received via email and the email address they used to register with SafeVisitor.

Once completed, if they have visited a building before,  they will see their badge in the app along with their picture.

That is all that’s needed. When a person comes for a visit, they will open the app and make sure that Location Services is turned on. When they approach the building and step inside the geofence hotspot area, the attendant will see them on their dashboard in the “Visitors Nearby” tab. The moment they are within that hotspot, the system will log them in the “Nearby Log”. The attendant can choose to leave them in the Visitors “Nearby tab” or click the arrow next to them and check them into SafeVisitor. Either way, their arrival to your location has been logged by the system in an efficient manner.

Geofencing can be especially useful when you are expecting many volunteers to arrive. By looking at the dashboard and verifying the person, the attendant can simply click the arrow next to the person on the dashboard to check the volunteer into the system. This allows the attendant to have a visual of the volunteer to compare to the picture on the dashboard without the volunteer having to physically scan into the building.

If you are interested in learning more about how SafeVisitor can protect your organization, you can sign up for a webinar by going to: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/4163182413889495042

Do Visitor Management Systems Integrate with Comprehensive Background Checks?

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Are you looking for a visitor management system?  One of the most critical components for securing your organization is knowing exactly who it is that is walking through your doors.  A clipboard and self-disclosure signature might work for the majority of honest visitors to your buildings, but it will not stop someone bent on gaining access for nefarious reasons.

An Internet search for ‘visitor management software’, will show that all providers claim to provide background checks, but the term ‘background check’ has no standard definition or requirements.

I have audited thousands of background-screening programs and have found the term ‘background check’ defined as a ‘driving history’ or a‘ sex offender registry check’.  A driving history gives you a slight glimpse into their driving history and any crimes related to driving, but each state varies in how far back this search extends.

The same principles apply to a ‘sex offender registry check’.  I have owned Safe Hiring Solutions for thirteen years and we have conducted over 100,000 background checks a year, and I will tell you that a ‘sex offender registry’ is NEVER a quality background-screening program.  Sex offender data is highly inaccurate and incomplete. 

So when you are researching a visitor management system, ask what they include in a background check.  99.9% of the time that will be some level of a sex offender check and possibly an internal client-created exclusion list that includes individuals not allowed on their property.

We had a client switch to our SafeVisitor system a few months ago, and they were under the impression that their prior visitor management system was conducting a state-wide criminal background check on their volunteers before they entered a building and at each ensuing visit.

It was discovered that they had used this system -one of the largest in the school market arena- for several years with thousands of volunteers being allowed entry into their 10 school buildings and they had only been receiving a sex offender registry check.  The risk management problem is:

·         Someone convicted of a sex offense but not required to register as a sex offender would not show on this type of check.

·         Violent felons could have been wandering their hallways as volunteers with none the wiser. 

·         The lack of transparency by this visitor management system put thousands of students and teachers at risk. 

So understanding the definition and components of a comprehensive background check is critical.  Otherwise, you might be operating with a false sense of security thinking that your visitors have been properly vetted.

SafeVisitor visitor management system is the only visitor management system I am aware of that conducts comprehensive background checks on visitors.  We are integrated with Safe Hiring Solutions, our sister background-screening firm, who is a recognized global leader in background checks.

SafeVisitor allows you to define your different types and levels of visitors and match that up with an appropriate level background check which can range from nothing for a temporary visitor to a national criminal background check for a vendor or volunteer.

You can even manage your current employees, their background re-checks and logging them in an out as they visit different areas or buildings in your organization.

And you can define how frequently you require a new background check and have the flexibility to make this unique for each registration type.  For example, a volunteer might be required to have a background check every 3 years but a sensitive contractor might be required to have an annual background check.

The key to selecting the right visitor management system is understanding the role that background checks play in the security of your organization. 

Would you like to learn more about SafeVisitor?  Join us for our free webinar that we host each Thursday.  Click here to register.

Lessons from the San Bernardino School Shooting

We don’t always like to talk about the lessons we could learn from a tragedy in the immediate aftermath of the incident.  However, I think it is critically important to look at what happened in San Bernardino and see what lessons we can learn.

It might be easier for me because I came out of a career as a violent crime detective and conducting fatality reviews was a necessary part of what we would do.  Analyze the murder and determine if there were things that could or should have been done.  Were there signs or signals that were missed?

The goal is not to place blame but to make sure we learn and apply what we learn to ensure that it does not happen again. 

What we have learned over the past 20 years is that many domestic murders are preventable.  Yes, preventable.

I have been utterly amazed over the past 20 years how long it has taken to get communities to adopt these proven strategies. I spent more than 10 years traveling worldwide sharing what we learned in Nashville AND how we reduced domestic violence murders.

When I joined the Nashville, TN Metropolitan Police Department in 1991:

  • Nashville averaged 25 domestic violence murders annually
  • Few states had domestic violence statutes (treated the same as an assault/battery)
  • Domestic violence was considered a family problem not a community problem
  • Women were mistreated by a criminal justice system that did not understand why they were not leaving the abuser

In 1994 I was selected to help develop and help implement the Nashville Domestic Violence Division which:

  • Was the largest police-based domestic violence program in the U.S.
  • Was honored as a model program by President Bill Clinton.
  • Included 25 specially trained detectives
  • Included 4 prosecutors and 4 social workers

The results of the Nashville PD Domestic Violence Division were immediate:

  • Domestic murders dropped by 50%.  Catch that? 
  • 12-14 people each year were NOT being killed by an intimate partner.

It became clear that domestic violence murders were NOT a “heat of the moment” crime.  There are indicators and escalations, often times over years. There are lethality indicators that were uncovered by studying domestic homicides that helped us when we would see this indicators before someone was killed.

This was a huge paradigm shift for the Nashville Police Department.  Policing at its core is reactive.  Even with all the changes over the past 20 years and community policing, data-driven policing etc, it is still a very reactive machine.

You get robbed, police show up.

You get shot, police show up.

Somebody steals your car, police show up.

The Nashville model was a shift and the result is that it saved lives!  How much more valuable can you get than saved lives?

By now you are asking what does this possibly have to do with the San Bernardino School Shooting?

I have made the following observations (read my words…observations NOT blame):

  1. This was Classic Domestic Violence.  They had only been together for a few months but were already estranged and he had a criminal history for domestic violence, weapons and drugs. 
  2. After Separation the Danger to the Victim Increased Substantially. I have always been shocked when people ask a victim of domestic violence why they stay in the relationship.  Honestly, it is a heck of a lot safer.  75% of women killed by a current or former partner are killed AFTER they leave.  Leaving is dangerous for victims and their kids.
  3. Leaving a Violent Relationship is Dangerous for Your Employer.  Where is the one place a violent abuser can find an estranged partner?  WORK .  I was a member of the anti-stalking team in Nashville.  Stalking exists after there has been separation and is a huge indicator in increased lethality risk.

What are the Solutions to Prevent San Bernardino:

1.      Adopt Domestic Violence Policies and Make Sure All Employees Understand Them.

  • Encourage employees to disclose if they are a victim of domestic violence.
  • Make sure it is clear that employees understand they will not be held responsible for an abusers behaviors.
  • Emphasize the importance of employees notifying employers about threats we so can help keep them, employees, students, visitors, and/or contractors safe.

2.      Control Access to Your Facility

  • The first step in preventing a violent incident is securing your perimeter.
  • Visitors should not be allowed unfettered access to your organization (not so easy if you are retail, I get that).

How do I Control Access?

  • A visitor management system is the first step in securing a facility.  I am amazed that 90% of the organizations I visit each week rely upon visitor honesty to control access.  If a person is determined to hurt someone, telling a lie to the receptionist is not a stretch.
  • Not all visitor management systems are created equal.  Many acquiesce to front office personnel and deploy self-service kiosks that defeats the whole purpose of security.
  • Dottie Davis, Director of Security for Fort Wayne Community Schools and SafeVisitor Advisory Board Member, said that she employs retired police officers in high traffic buildings because she wants the first point of contact to be with a trained person who understands unusual behavior and would act upon it.  Dottie is an internationally recognized expert on domestic violence and school security.

What are the Key Components of a Quality Visitor Management System (VMS)?

  • Excluded Parties List
    • Create lists of people who should be flagged and not allowed on your property.
    • VMS should have communications so a flagged person will kick off text/email notifications to security, administrators or e-911.
  • Real Time Sex Offender Data. Some VMS will store local data and not update automatically.
  • Cloud-Based.  Allows access anytime from any device in real-time.
  • Comprehensive Background Checks.  SafeVisitor has a full integration with one of the fastest growing background screening firms in the U.S. which allows you to create unlimited registration types (visitor, volunteer, student teacher, etc) and tie it to a national background check.
  • Use of Geo-Fence and Approved Lists.  Require all visitors, even temporary, to pre-register so that the background check and exclusion list are done before they enter the building.

Fatality reviews can be a bit uncomfortable for people outside of law enforcement or security because it feels like you are leveling blame.  The goal should never be to place blame, but to review policies and procedures to ensure it never happens again.   

The shootings in San Bernardino are not isolated and could have happened anywhere in the world.    Nearly 4,000 women are killed each year in the U.S. from domestic violence and 75% are killed after they leave which means many of them are killed at work or around work as they arrive or leave.

Join us for a webinar to discuss the Lessons from the San Bernardino School Shooting and How to Prevent this at your Organization.  Please register here as seating is limited to 100 participants.

Vendor Management Process

More companies are opting for using contractors which makes the vendor management process extremely critical.  I am surprised (horrified) how many companies do not apply the same risk management principles to vendors that they apply to their employees.

And how many vendors are allowed unfettered access to the organization, wandering the hallways and sensitive areas of the business without any identification or authorization.  A female partner in a large national law firm recently told me how often she is in the office after hours and encounters individuals and has no idea who they are and if the pose a physical risk to her.

The vendor management process does not have to be complicated.  SafeVisitor has a module specifically for vendor management called SafeVendor.

SafeVendor assumes the entire vendor management process by utilizing several industry leading processes:

1.      Cloud-Based.  Many vendor management systems run locally on your computer or server.  This increases your cost for database management, often costs more for updates and is not accessible via the internet.  SafeVendor is cloud-based so there is nothing to install locally AND you have access to your data in real time anywhere in the world 24 hours a day from a computer, smart phone or tablet.

2.      Comprehensive Background Checks.  SafeVendor is integrated with Safe Hiring Solutions, our parent company.  Safe Hiring Solutions is an Inc 5000 global provider of comprehensive background checks for organizations that have ranged from the NFL to Fortune 500 companies.

The custom background check integration allows you to:

a.     Define Level of Background Check.  Our custom integration allows you to select from more than 30 background screening solutions that range from SSN Verification and National Criminal Database to Federal Criminal Courts Search.

b.     Create Levels of Screening for Positions.  You can determine the depth of the background check by position.  Vendors who have access to sensitive information or sensitive areas can be screened at a higher level than vendors who do not.

c.      Automated Rechecks.  Each vendor position can be setup with a recheck requirement that is defined by you or by SafeVendor if we are providing the vetting of vendors.  If you set the recheck for 36 months then at month 35 SafeVisitor will begin emailing your vendor with a link to complete the recheck. If they don’t, then their status is moved to expired and access to your facility removed.

d.     Change Level of Screening for Recheck.  SafeVisitor allows you to conduct a comprehensive background check and then a lower level national background recheck since your vendors have been screened initially at a higher level.  This provides significant costs savings to organizations.

e.     National Sex Offender Check.  Run a national sex offender check each time a vendor enters your facility.  They might have a clear background check when they initially apply but are later convicted of a sexual offense.  This will flag them and deny them entry.

1.     Shared Vendors.  All of your vendors can undergo a comprehensive background check and become SafeVendor certified which allows them to enter any facility that is running SafeVisitor.  If a facility is not using SafeVisitor, the facility can still check the ID and certification of the vendor through a public access link.

2.     Mobile App.  We may not always have our purse or billfold but we will always have our mobile phones with us.  SafeVisitor provides a mobile app for approved volunteers and vendors.  We setup the GPS coordinates for each of your buildings and as approved vendors approach one of your buildings and cross the geo-fence, the app automatically displays the vendors information and photo on the front office computer so security or front office personnel can visually identify the visitor before allowing them access to the facility.

3.     Excluded Parties.  Do you have a list of individuals that are not allowed on your property?  Maybe they have trespassed in the past.  Or there are custody orders.  Or one of your employees is going through a divorce and a protective order is issued and you would like to put the estranged partner on an exclusion list that pops up if they try to enter your facility. Create an exclusion list that is specific to one building or global across your organization.

4.     Visible ID Badges.  Even if you are using the mobile app and geo-fencing, you can still print a temporary ID badge each time the vendor enters your facility with their photo, name, date/time stamp and a time expiring stop sign thatbleeds through after 6-7 hours so they cannot re-enter the facility with the same ID badge.

SafeVisitor is utilized by single building facilities as well as international companies.

Click here to setup an online demonstration or click here for pricing information.

5 Requirements of a Volunteer Management System

How do you manage your volunteers?  Clipboard?  Excel spreadsheet?  Or a server-based solution that does not provide access when you are away from your desk or office.

These labor-intensive methods work fine if you have a small volunteer pool and are only interested in maintaining a list of volunteers. A slight improvement over an Excel spreadsheet.   But if you have a large volunteer base, are committed to risk management which ensures your volunteers maintain acceptable criminal histories and also need accurate volunteer logs to determine when a volunteer has entered or exited your facility, then you need a robust volunteer management system.

Here are 5 requirements of a volunteer management system. 

1.  Cloud-Based.  There are many visitor or volunteer management systems that run locally on your desktop or server.  If you are using a system such as this, how up-to-date is your information?  We recently converted a large school district to our SafeVisitor system and learned in the process that their locally run database of sex offender data was more than 2 years out of date.  That is frightening.  Sex offenders who had been added to the national registry in the past two years were not in the database.  Not to mention they had additional costs of running and maintaining their own database.

There are many benefits of a cloud-based system.

a.     Always Up to Date.  Each time we update our SafeVisitor system you receive those updates immediately and at no cost.

b.     Real Time Sex Offender Data.  Using an API the sex offender data is always in real time.   

c.      Nothing To Install.  Cloud-based systems are accessed via the internet and your web-browser.  What happens if you need to evacuate a building for an emergency?  With SafeVisitor you can login via your phone, tablet, laptop or any computer and ensure all of your visitors are accounted for.

d.     World-Wide Access.  Administrators can access organizational locations and view who is logged in.  We work with a large international volunteer organization and they can login anywhere in the world and check volunteers or visitors in any country.

2.     Comprehensive Background Checks.  Many visitor or volunteer management systems advertise that they have integrated background checks.  Many offer only low-level national sex offender checks.  Or the background checks are a manual process that require you to manually update in the software.

SafeVisitor is unique because we have integrated comprehensive background checks available through our parent company Safe Hiring Solutions.  This custom volunteer background check integration allows you to:

a.     Define Level of Background Check.  Our custom integration allows you to select from more than 30 background screening solutions that range from SSN Verification and National Criminal Database to Federal Criminal Courts Search.

b.     Create Levels of Screening for Positions.  You can determine the depth of the background check by position.  Volunteers who do not have any contact with children or vulnerable populations might be screened at a different level than volunteers who are interacting with children.

c.      Automated Rechecks.  Each volunteer position can be setup with a recheck requirement that is defined by you.  If you set the recheck for 36 months then at month 35 SafeVisitor will begin emailing your volunteer with a link to complete the recheck. If they don’t, then their status is moved to expired and access removed.

d.     Change Level of Screening for Recheck.  SafeVisitor allows you to conduct a comprehensive background check and then a lower level national background recheck since your volunteers have been screened initially at a higher level.  This provides significant costs savings to volunteer organizations.

e.     National Sex Offender Check.  Run a national sex offender check each time a volunteer enters your facility.  They might have a clear background check when they initially apply but are later are convicted of a sexual offense.  This will flag them and deny them entry.

3.     Mobile App Geo-Fencing.  We are a mobile society.  We may not remember to bring an ID card, purse or billfold but we will always have our mobile phones with us.  SafeVisitor provides a mobile app for approved volunteers and vendors.  We setup the GPS coordinates for each of your buildings and as approved volunteers or vendors approach one of your buildings and cross the geo-fence, the app automatically displays the volunteer/vendors information and photo on the front office computer so security or front office personnel can visually identify the visitor before allowing them access to the facility.

4.     Excluded Parties.  Do you have a list of individuals that are not allowed on your property?  Maybe they have trespassed in the past.  Or there are custody orders.  Or one of your employees is going through a divorce and a protective order is issued and you would like to put the estranged partner on an exclusion list that pops up if they try to enter your facility.

5.     Pre-Registration. Do you routinely have large groups of volunteers coming to your facility for events?  Upload a spreadsheet of approved visitors with a date and then print their badge and log them with one mouse click as they enter your facility.

SafeVisitor was built by and for volunteer organizations.  Numerous large volunteer organizations such as Kiwanis International use SafeVisitor to manager their volunteers.

Click here to setup an online demonstration or click here for pricing information.