Working with the vendor
There are several excellent products on the market that would be appropriate for use by schools. A school security person or administrator should take the time to visit one of the national trade shows where most of this equipment is on display. Seeing the equipment and talking with vendors can often help a facility gain a better understanding of the products that they are considering using. Such a visit allows schools to identify the vendors they would like to seriously consider.
Because of the high cost of this equipment, schools may want to invite at least two different vendors to visit their campuses and demonstrate their equipment. This is not a trivial expense for a vendor and should not be done unless a particular product is actually under consideration. When equipment is available for testing on campus, the security personnel can become familiar with the operation of the equipment and what options might be appropriate for their school's needs. If at all possible, a school should involve the people who are going to run the equipment in the decisionmaking process.
Given that all the available x-ray baggage scanners are priced similarly, operate easily, offer substantial training up front, and have good quality monitor images, schools will be most concerned about service. If a service contract is being purchased, it may be possible to include language in the RFQ requiring the chosen vendor to provide service and repair within 3-5 work days or to substitute a backup system within 48 hours. This may be easy to incorporate within a large city but impossible in more rural locations. If a particular school district is planning on purchasing several units for multiple schools, the district may be able to negotiate an excellent price that will include one backup unit that will be stored by the vendor for use when needed. This backup unit may be a used product that is in good working order and easy to bring in quickly and set up during a crisis.
Research Report: The Appropriate and Effective Use of Security Technologies in U.S. Schools