Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Friday

September 6, 2013

Feature to boost security at Northport Public School

TRAVERSE CITY — Northport Public School officials invested in a novel safety product that makes ordinary doors nearly impenetrable.

The product — called The Boot — essentially is two steel pegs attached to a rectangular plate of quarter-inch-thick steel. It is engaged by dropping the pegs into pre-drilled holes behind a closed door, according to the website of the Okemos-based firm that produces the product, The Lockdown Co.

Northport Superintendent Jeff Tropf said he was immediately impressed by the simple and effective design of “The Boot” the first time he saw the unique lock in action.

“It was an instantaneous ‘Wow, why didn’t I think of that?’” he said.

Northport officials are always looking at for ways to improve school safety and lockdown procedures. The Boot was a cost-effective way to do just that, Tropf said.

The district’s Board of Education allocated about $16,000 to purchase boots during a meeting last month.

Rob Couturier, creator of The Boot and owner of The Lockdown Company, designed the product late last year and started selling it in the spring.

Couturier, who lives in Williamston and owns a summer home in Lake Leelanau, said he’s visited more than 56 school districts in Michigan with his product. He’s already sold Boots to Holt Public Schools and the Gratiot-Isabella Regional Education Service District, in addition to Northport Public Schools.

Couturier said he has dozens of verbal commitments from officials at other districts.

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