One of my favorite job-related activities is going into a facility and helping with their hardware problems.  This week I was called into a police station to look at a door that had allowed several escapes, as well as the main entrance.  I thought it would be fun to see what you all would recommend in these situations.

The main entrance to the police station leads directly to a very small waiting area, which has a wall of windows leading to the dispatchers’ desk.  Entering through an interior door to dispatch, you pass a few offices and go through the cell area, to the booking area.  In the booking area there is a second exit door leading from the booking area directly to the exterior.

Main Entrance

The full glass hollow metal door is equipped with a Von Duprin 99L with a 996L breakaway lever trim.  It is currently classroom function.  The dispatchers would like to have the ability to lock and unlock this door from the dispatch desk.  The door will always provide free egress, and must be secure from the exterior during a fire alarm or power failure.  In addition, the police chief noted that on windy days the door must be latched or it blows open.  On nice days they often leave the door open because the police department is in a smelly basement, and they are concerned about the current hold-open method – attaching a wire to the lever handle.  The existing closer is a 25-year-old LCN 4111-Cush.

Booking Exit

This is a flush hollow metal door in a hollow metal sidelite frame.  The door currently has a Von Duprin 99L with a 996L breakaway lever trim, and an electric strike.  When an officer is entering with an alleged bad guy, the strike is released by a button in the dispatch area, allowing access to booking.  At that point the ABG is supposed to be handcuffed to a pipe in front of the booking desk, but sometimes things go awry and he makes a run for it out the exit door.  This door is required for egress, but the police department would like to slow the ABG down.  Dispatch will continue to control this door.

So, what would you do?  Are there additional questions you would ask?

UPDATE: One thing I didn’t tell you was that the police department will be moving out of their basement quarters within the next couple of years (they asked me to write the hardware spec for the new place!), so they don’t want to spend a lot of money on new hardware or an access control system.  Several of you had comments relative to the hold-open closer on the main entrance, so I should explain that during the day they don’t plan on locking the door, and it’s not a problem if it’s held open mechanically with no means to release it remotely.  The door will be locked at night, when this will be a very low traffic door.  The dispatch window is directly in front of the door so it would be highly unlikely that the door would accidentally be left open at night.

Here’s what I recommended:

On the main entrance, I changed out the closer for a 4111S-H-Cush.  The old closer was still working but they preferred a new closer rather than just changing the arm.  The outside trim will be changed to a fail secure electrified lever trim by using a Von Duprin retrofit kit (part #050672), with a maintained push button at the dispatch desk.  The police department was fine with using a door cord…I don’t typically use them, but given the frame conditions, the fact that they really didn’t care what it looked like, and the short-term occupancy of this space, it seemed like the best option.  They are planning to install this hardware with their own facilities people, so less-complicated installation and low price won out over aesthetics and resistance to vandalism.

On the booking area door I added a delayed egress mag-lock (Schlage Electronics M490DE).  The installation is relatively simple, it does exactly what the police need it to do, it’s code-compliant, and it can be released from the dispatch desk the same way they have been releasing the electric strike.

Thanks to everyone who left their ideas and input!

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