Former police officer starts company to protect schools, buildings in active shooter situations
CEDAR CITY — Parowan police Chief Ken Carpenter only needed one shot to break a large piece of glass. After it shattered, anybody could just walk through to the other side.
It was a demonstration to show if someone wanted to gain access to your locked building, going through the glass, is usually the simplest way.
“Unfortunately, Sandy Hook, that’s what happened. The door was locked. He put one round through the glass that was just next to the door and it became a doorway,” said Isaac Askeroth, who was a Cedar City police officer for eight years, including three years as a school resource officer.
Askeroth thinks about the 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook often because he was a school resource officer at the time.
“It affected me and I realized that the schools I was in charge of protecting had that same weakness,” said Askeroth.
It’s what led him to leave the police department and start his next career. Askeroth started a company called Clear Secure, which is a type of film that covers windows, making them tougher.
He demonstrated Thursday using a sledgehammer on a piece of glass protected by the film. The glass shattered, but he couldn’t get through.
Then, he had Carpenter fire four rounds into the protected glass. It didn’t shatter.
“The purpose of it is to buy that critical time,” said Askeroth to his audience. “Time is the most important thing in an active shooter situation.”
That’s the message he was hoping those watching him would understand. His audience was school administrators from across Southern Utah.
Schools have become an issue with gun violence, and many administrators are trying to figure out what they can do to keep students safer.
“It’s something we’re considering. We want to look at every option available and see how we can help provide a safer environment for our students,” said Steven Dunham with the Washington County School District. “It’s something you don’t want to have to think about, but you have to.”
That’s also the case for school in smaller communities.
“It’s hard for me to imagine we’re having to deal with this kind of thing in our society,” said Russell Torgersen, the principal at Panguitch High School in Garfield County. “We have to prepare for it, though. It’s something parents, even in our small communities, are concerned about and they’re asking us about it.”
No one could have imagined school shootings until Columbine. Now, it seems to happen almost every month.
Askeroth, who has five kids of his own, wants to help make them safer when they’re in school.
“This is part of the answer to the problem we’re facing,” he said.
Clear Secure is already working with schools in southern Utah and in the Salt Lake Valley. Its product is also on some windows in buildings at Southern Utah University in Cedar City.
“We can secure our buildings by pushing a button and all the buildings are locked down, but when Isaac showed us how easy it is to breach that by shooting the glass and walking through, well, we haven’t finished our security,” said Ralph Savage, the director of custodial services at SUU.
The two main goals are safety and buying time for police to arrive.
Clear Secure is also working with schools in Arizona and Idaho.
“Our world is changing and it’s facing things it’s never faced before,” said Askeroth. “I cared about protecting people as a police officer, but this business I’m in really goes that much further.”
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