The Security Maintenance office looks like any other, with computers, cubicles, and conference rooms. You might never know that it houses HISD’s first line of defense against burglars, fires, floods, and natural disasters.
Part of Facilities Services and Fleet Operations, Security Maintenance is responsible for ensuring safety and security systems and equipment are fully functioning.
The department provides routine maintenance and emergency repairs on all safety equipment, such as cameras and alarm panels. It oversees and coordinates annual fire alarm, intercom, and fire extinguisher inspections. The team also works closely with HISD Construction Services to bring safety systems online in new and renovated schools.
“I think people would be surprised to know that we service and maintain over 600 fire and burglar alarm panels, approximately 750 camera servers, and over 17,000 cameras with the size of the team we have,” Facilities Support General Manager Lucie Garcia said.
This group of 31 dedicated employees covers 333 square miles. Each year, they handle nearly 20,000 work orders, most of which are high-priority requests that must be addressed within a short period of time. They also ensure fire alarms and burglar alarms are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week by a third-party monitoring service.
The team is made up of 24 craftsmen who manage 12 crafts: bells and clocks, burglar alarms, card access, closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, cable television, DVR camera servers, fire alarms, fire extinguishers, intercoms, keys, locks, and sound support.
Five more support staff members handle quality assurance, fire alarm inspections scheduling, CCTV vendor representation, and information technology, which consists of CCTV and card access programming and Complete View camera software, which allows campuses to view their camera feeds.
Rounding out the team are Garcia and Facilities Maintenance Senior Manager Anthony Mendizabal, who oversee the department.
“A lot of people don’t realize everything that goes into maintaining these systems,” Garcia said. “Our team plays a vital role in providing students a safe place to learn.”
CCTV Vendor Representative Ladonna Kauffman-Johnson said she enjoys the upbeat nature of her job.
“The best part is knowing I play a role in making sure our campuses are safe,” Kauffman-Johnson said.