SOUTH COVENTRY >> Security is top of mind for school districts all across the country. In the Owen J. Roberts School District, an alumnus recently came forward to donate a valuable software system that is designed to better track incidents at district schools and quickly find information on suspicious individuals.
At a recent meeting, the school board accepted a donation of public security software from CODY Systems, of Pottstown. CODY is a software and data management company that specializes in public safety, law enforcement and other public sector systems.
It was donated by company coowner David Heffner, who graduated from OJR in 1996. The company was founded by his parents, David and Frances Heffner, in 1979.
Heffner, who now co-owns the company with his mother, said the district provided him with “an incredible foundation and excellent memories.”
“I and my mother could not be prouder to donate this system,” Heffner told the board. “I hope it will be an incredible enhancement to the safety and security of OJR students.”
The software that was donated by CODY is a record management system that will help district police track and report criminal offenses, student tips and other incidents. In addition, the district will have access to a COBRA data-sharing system that provides access to police records from all Chester County police departments.
“It will allow OJR police officers to search not only their district, but the area around it, as well,” Heffner said of the COBRA system.
Heffner offered to donate the system after being contacted by the district’s Chief of Security & Safety Brandon Daniels.
Daniels, who joined Owen J. Roberts in October, said he has been engaged in an ongoing review of all equipment in the district’s police department. He quickly determined that the existing reporting system was usable but antiquated and needed to be replaced.
However, he soon found out that newer systems had price tags that far exceeded his budget.
“I came across CODY,” Daniels said. “I knew most of the departments in the county were using their system. I reached out to find out if there was a less expensive version of their software.”
He discovered that there wasn’t a scaled-down, cheaper version available. But that’s when Heffner told him he was a graduate of the district.
“He said he was interested in giving back, and he offered the donation,” Daniels said.
Heffner agreed to donate not only the system, but the first year of maintenance. Thereafter, the district will pay an annual maintenance fee. The donation is valued at more than $20,000.
Both the record management system and the COBRA system are a valuable addition to the district’s security department. For Daniels, COBRA, which links all police departments in the county, is a particularly beneficial tool.
“If we have an incident that we handle, or another department handles an incident, we can share that information,” he said.
For example, if a suspicious person is found walking on the high school campus, Daniels can check the system to find out if another police department in the area has reported a similar incident.
“Without that we would have no way of knowing,” Daniels said. “It can really provide important information to improve the safety and security of our schools.”
Superintendent Susan Lloyd thanked Heffner for the generous donation. She said the system will be a boon to the district police force, which consists of two full-time and one part-time officer.
“We think of police officers as only dealing with the students, but the public uses our facilities heavily,” Lloyd observed.
In addition to being grateful for the donation, Lloyd also noted that “it’s always great to see our graduates being successful.”
According to information provided by the company, software and data management systems from CODY Systems serve close to 500 agencies nationwide, “covering 20 states and ranging in size from rural police departments to state and federal agencies.”