In response to new revelations yesterday regarding the PCSD lawsuit, Knox Co. Schools superintendent James McIntyre has placed Chief Security Officer Steve Griffin on administrative leave pending further investigation:
Late this afternoon Chief Griffin was asked further about the nature of his relationship with Mike Walker, the proprietor of PSCD. He disclosed that he had on two occasions participated in social trips with Mr. Walker – once to a NASCAR race at Bristol, and a second time when he stayed at Mr. Walker’s hunting cabin for a hunting trip. In light of this new information that was disclosed today, I felt compelled to place Mr. Griffin on administrative leave with pay while we further investigate his relationship with the vendor PSCD. Deputy Chief Rodney Beverly will serve as acting Chief in the interim.
McIntyre also says the newspaper mischaracterized his remarks regarding PSCD. His full statement to the County Mayor and County Commissioners after the break...
From: JAMES MCINTYRE
Subject: School Security Systems - update
County Commissioners & Mayor Burchett,
There has been a good deal in the media today about our electronic security systems, and I thought that providing some additional information to each of you might be helpful:
• Deficiencies in equipment and services provided to Hardin Valley Academy and Powell Middle School by security systems vendor PSCD were identified by the Public Building Authority in 2011. Since that time the contract with PSCD has terminated, a review of our electronic security systems in all our schools was undertaken, and litigation was filed against PSCD.
• Our current contractor for security, fire protection and keyless entry systems is Simplex/Grinnell, and since taking over the contract from PSCD in 2011 (though a competitive bid process), they have completed a thorough inspection of all our security panels and addressed any issues or deficiencies. They also monitor our fire protection systems and attest that those systems are currently in good working order. Attached is a letter they sent today verifying that our systems have been thoroughly reviewed and are operating properly.
• Our Security Office conducts monthly assessments of our video monitoring systems to ensure that they are working properly and to address any problems. Our current vendor for security monitoring systems is a company called Systems Integration.
• I am very confident that our school security, fire protection and video monitoring systems are operating appropriately, and doing what they are supposed to do to help us to keep our kids safe.
• Chief Security Officer Steve Griffin’s son-in-law worked for PSCD from 2008 through 2010 when he was laid off. He was hired by PSCD after serving as a communications specialist with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan with relevant specialized training. At no time during his tenure were there procurement decisions made regarding the PSCD contract.
• Late this afternoon Chief Griffin was asked further about the nature of his relationship with Mike Walker, the proprietor of PSCD. He disclosed that he had on two occasions participated in social trips with Mr. Walker – once to a NASCAR race at Bristol, and a second time when he stayed at Mr. Walker’s hunting cabin for a hunting trip. In light of this new information that was disclosed today, I felt compelled to place Mr. Griffin on administrative leave with pay while we further investigate his relationship with the vendor PSCD. Deputy Chief Rodney Beverly will serve as acting Chief in the interim.
Student safety and school security continue to be our highest priorities every day in the Knox County Schools, and we will continue to make sure we do everything in our power to keep our children safe in our schools.
Please let me know if you have questions.
P.S. The newspaper article this morning characterized my statement as having confidence in PSCD’s work. The actual statement expressed no such confidence; it said: "For several years the Knox County Schools maintained a properly bid contract with PSCD for electronic security services. During this contract, the Public Building Authority notified the school system of deficiencies in PSCD's work with the PBA and that they would be taking legal action against PSCD. As a matter of practice, we generally do not comment on pending litigation."
Dr. James P. McIntyre, Jr.
Knox County Schools
912 South Gay Street (P.O. Box 2188)
Knoxville, Tennessee 37901
UPDATE: Simplex/Grinnell letter...
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