DOJ Awards $1.3 Million for School Safety in North Texas - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

DOJ Awards $1.3 Million for School Safety in North Texas

Department of Justice issuing $70 million in grants nationwide to promote school safety

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    DOJ Awards $1.3 Million for School Safety in North Texas
    Tim Boyle/Getty Images (File)
    (File photo)

    U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox and the Department of Justice are providing $1.3 million in funding to make North Texas schools safer.

    The grants are part of $70 million grant funding earmarked to bolster school security, educate and train students and faculty and support law enforcement officers and first responders who arrive on the scene of a school violence incident.

    "As the chief federal law enforcement officer in North Texas -- and mother of three students - few things are as important to me as the safety and security of our school children," said Nealy Cox. "This significant investment by the Justice Department will go a long way to ensure the safety of students and educators in the Northern District of Texas"

    Grants to entities in the Northern District of Texas include:

    1. $500,000 to Tarrant County (STOP Prevention grant)
    2. $499,997 to the City of Arlington (COPS grant)
    3. $249,992 to Amarillo ISD (STOP Prevention grant)
    4. $80,000 to O'Donnell ISD (STOP Prevention grant)
    5. $15,885 to the City of Benbrook (COPS grant)
    6. $1 million to the statewide Texas Education Agency (STOP Threat Assessment grant)

    "President Trump and his administration will ensure the safety of every American school," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. "Earlier this year he signed into law the STOP School Violence Act, which provides grant funding to develop anonymous school threat reporting systems, to implement school building security measures, and to train students, school personnel, and law enforcement on how to prevent school violence. Today I am announcing $70 million in these grants to hundreds of cities and states across America. These grants will go a long way toward giving young people and their families both safety and peace of mind." 

    The Office of Justice Program's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) together are making more than 220 awards to jurisdictions across the country to help make schools more secure. The awards, granted through three funding streams, will provide new technology for reporting systems and other threat deterrent measures and create school safety training and education programs for school administrators, staff, students, and first responders. This includes the support for existing crisis intervention teams and the creation of new ones.

    • BJA's STOP School Violence Threat Assessment and Technology Reporting Program will provide 68 awards valued at more than $19 million. This funding supports training to create and operate threat assessment and crisis intervention teams and to develop technology for local or regional anonymous reporting systems. This technology may be in the form of a mobile phone application, hotline, or website.
    • The STOP School Violence Prevention and Mental Health Training Program, also managed by BJA, will provide training and education on preventing violence and effectively responding to related mental health crises. This program will fund 85 awards at nearly $28 million.
    • The COPS Office School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) will provide nearly $25 million to 91 jurisdictions for school safety measures including coordination with law enforcement, training for law enforcement to prevent student violence against others and self, target hardening measures, and technology for expedited notification of law enforcement during an emergency.

    The grants are authorized by the STOP School Violence Act, which are intended to improve school security by helping students and teachers reduce exposure to risks, prevent acts of violence, and quickly recognize and respond to violent attacks.

    The DOJ also announced that it has awarded more than $64 million to state agencies to improve the completeness, quality, and accessibility of the nation's criminal record systems. These grants are administered by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, part of OJP. Approximately $43 million in funding will be administered through the National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP), and nearly $21 million will be awarded under the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Act Record Improvement Program. These grant programs help states automate and upgrade records accessed by the firearms background check system. This year, at the direction of the Attorney General, the Department prioritized funding for projects that improve accessibility of criminal history records, domestic violence convictions, and information on persons who are prohibited from possessing firearms for mental-health related reasons.

    The DOJ is also investing over $1 million in research to better understand the factors behind mass shooting incidents. The grant awards, made by the Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ), part of OJP, support scientific investigations that will examine factors that contribute to mass violence, identify any patterns in mass shootings, analyze psychological and social life histories of mass shooters and community-level predictors of mass violence, and will examine firearm purchasing patterns of known mass shooters in order to create a risk prediction tool.