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Former Scranton police officer publishes book on school security

Former Scranton police officer publishes book on school security.

SCRANTON, Pa. — For years, one question kept former Scranton police officer Joseph Harris up at night:

"What if I missed something? What if I missed that one vulnerable point?"

One of his duties while on the force was to serve as the "risk assessor" for schools and any large-scale events that took place in the city. His job was to identify any spots in a location vulnerable to attack and secure them.

A lot of people were counting on him not to miss something. 

When he retired, he didn't want to waste all the knowledge he'd gathered over the last 15 years studying school security.

So, he started putting pen to paper. 

"It just seemed obvious because when I started doing risk assessments, I didn't have this. I had to learn from different schools, the Department of Homeland Security, but I still never had that blueprint."

His recently published book, "School Security: The Risk Assessment Blueprint," serves as a DIY, how-to guide for keeping schools safe.

Harris says there aren't enough trained risk assessors out there, and too often, schools opt for the less expensive, less experienced choice. 

That's where his book comes in.

"This brings it to the civilian population. This book brings the information to the administrators, and the teachers, and the parents."

Harris gets a lot of calls from school districts asking him to come in for active shooter training. 

"But there's 14 steps before that," he says.

His goal is to prevent an active shooter from getting into the building in the first place.

"The idea behind this book - it is not political at all - as soon as you talk politics, that's it, you just lost half of your audience, and that defeats the whole purpose. We talk about the history, current times, and the future, what to expect. And of course, lastly, at the end of the book is the complete blueprint on how to do your own risk assessment."

The book is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble's websites. 

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