Police Department Case Study - Building Security Film

Police Department Case Study - Building Security Film

Building Security Film

The bricks smashed into the glass front of our substation – shattering the  tempered glass into small cubes that fell away leaving a gaping hole in our building…


During the summer of 2020 it seemed that all police departments had their hands full dealing with protests or riots in some form.

Most of the demonstrations around our state were relatively peaceful. Graffiti and toppled statues were about the worst of what occurred during the rougher protests. In our city, peaceful vigils were held during the day, but shots were fired at night. 

The worst of the rioting included protesters taking baseball bats to the windows of police cruisers, bricks hurled against the windows of our substations, and several shots were fired out of crowds at the officers attempting to control the scene.

Something that proved to be very frustrating to us at this time was the fact that we couldn’t protect our buildings from attack during the riots without attracting lots of public criticism. 

At first, if a protest was being planned we would board up our windows. 

That resulted in public outcry that we (the police) were trying to incite violence and vilify the “peaceful protesters”. 

Then, if we didn’t board up our windows, they would get smashed by bricks during the next protest. 

The Problem:

Obviously it was expensive to continually be boarding windows up and taking the boards back down a couple days later, but it would have cost us far more if someone inside one of our buildings happened to be hurt by broken glass, a rock thrown through the window, or – at the very worst – by a fanatical protestor who broke into the building intent on causing harm.

We tried to find another way to fix this issue, but it was proving difficult. 

We wanted a fix that didn’t require lots of modification to the exterior of our building, and didn’t alter the look of the glass. 

This ruled out bars (alters the look and requires modification to the building), glazings (also alters the look and requires modifications to the exterior with the extra framing required), and installing ballistic glass was simply out of our budget.


Finally, after dealing with this problem for several months, we found a solution.

Security Film.

The Solution

Security film is a layer of plastic film that is adhered to existing glass windows and their frame. It supports the glass and helps it resist cracking. If the glass does crack or shatter, it stays in place as an extra barrier to entry.

In simpler terms, security film strengthens glass similar to how rebar strengthens concrete. 

Most security films on the market are between 8-12 mils thick. That isn’t good enough.  When choosing security film, pick one that is a minimum of 16 mils thick.

The particular brand we went with, Smash and Grab™ Security Film from VERTRAD, has films that range from 16-21 mils thick. Their film has been specifically engineered to withstand breeching and forced entry attacks – providing much better protection than other brands of the same thickness.

Does Smash and Grab™ Security Film work?

A few weeks after VERTRAD installed the film we had an attack on one of our buildings, and were far more prepared than we had been for this type of event before.

There were three perpetrators.
The first threw a brick at a locked glass door, and the brick bounced off leaving the glass intact.
The second and third ran up with a crowbar and a baseball bat and attempted to smash their way through the glass. 
The glass shattered under the impact of the crowbar and bat, but the security film remained in place, attached to the frame around the glass.
The perps only tried to smash the film for about 10 seconds before fleeing the scene. However, we are confident that the film would have kept them out of the building for a minimum of two minutes – plenty of time for anyone inside to get out, and plenty of time to mount an appropriate response.

Without the film in place, these attackers would have gained entry to our building in under 3 seconds, and that would have cost us far more to cover any damage or injury they would have caused than it had cost us to install the film.

Now, with Smash and Grab™ film from VERTRAD, we are always prepared for protests and attackers. Our buildings, personnel, and equipment are safe. No prep is needed on our part as our glass is already secured.

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