School Safety: An Interview with EC’s Director of Security
Jeff Botbyl, Director of Operations/School Security
School safety is on the mind of every parent. Student safety is our first job at EC. We’re blessed to have a Director of Security that helps us make decisions that keep students safe. In this interview, learn more about Jeff Botbyl, EC’s Director of Operations and School Security.
What brought you to Eastern Christian School?
I attended EC School K-12. My kids went to EC and I always stayed involved with EC through the years coaching several different sports.
What is the primary responsibilities of a Security Officer?
- Develop, coordinate, oversee, and evaluate school security measures. Physical building security, Emergency Action Plans and training for students and staff to prepare for emergencies.
- Communicate and meet with local police and/or emergency responders when necessary.
Talk about your professional experience before coming to EC
After graduating from Eastern Christian I joined the Haledon Police Department as a dispatcher but I knew I wanted to be a part of a larger department so I began taking police entrance exams. I made it to the final interview for each but was always told that I was too young. I was 18. I took the exam for the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department and was hired at the age of 19. I was one of only two direct placements in the Patrol Division when I started. Through my 26 ½ year career I was assigned to the City Police Department, the Highway Drug Interdiction Unit, and the Motorcycle Unit. I retired as Lieutenant Commander in the Patrol Division but the most enjoyable time was being Lieutenant of the Motorcycle Unit. During that period I was instrumental in the growth of the unit from 2 motorcycles to 12. I formalized the training program and implemented best practices in training and standard operation among motorcycle units nationwide. Some memorable escorts have been for the President of the United States and other foreign leaders, responding to the World Trade Center on 9/11, and NYC parades. My interest in school security started when I became involved in coordinating school security drills and training with the Director of Security at Passaic County Technical Institute.
What safety initiatives have you brought to Eastern Christian School?
- Implementing Standard Response Protocol and drills for all of our campuses so that regardless of where you are our response is consistent.
- Liaison with local police and other emergency responders.
- Training for staff and students
- Written emergency action plans
- Installation of interior and exterior cameras at our school campuses.
- One button lockdown at our middle school which will immediately broadcast an emergency intercom announcement, call 911 and send a text alert to the administration.
- ID card door access control at all campuses is in the process of being installed.
Due to the sensitive nature of some security upgrades some things you would not see. There’s a lot more to security at Eastern Christian School that we won’t “announce” in this space.
The other portion of your job is Operations Director. How do the two positions work together?
As Director of Operations I am able to incorporate capital improvements and security improvements into the “big picture” for all campuses. Because I am involved in the day to day operations at all campuses I am able to collaborate with personnel, emergency responders and contractors to evaluate and adjust or improve.
How does your faith impact your calling at EC?
It was not my plan to work at EC but looking back God opened doors of opportunity and His plan was made clear to me. As I approached my retirement from law enforcement I set myself up to move into corporate security as a manager because that is what seemed to make sense. But then the phone rang from a former salesman and current employee at EC. I was asked if I could help with administrative duties in the athletic office a couple hours a day. I thought it would give me something to do until I moved into corporate security so I agreed. While I was at school and observed some of the security drills I began to consult principals and staff on security issues based on my experience and training. I attended several seminars and was able to meet with other school security directors. I brought back valuable information and EC was very supportive and receptive. Last year my responsibilities increased to include Director of Operations. Again, not what I had planned but after working at EC for the previous year I really enjoyed working with this community of believers. Coming to work was nothing like I had ever experienced before. I feel like I have worked for one boss my entire life. That is God. Although I have had many earthly bosses the one boss I have always worked for is God. Throughout my life and career I have always tried to give my best at everything to honor and glorify Him.