Dear Representatives Williams and Deutch,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our strong support for H.R. 2717, the “Safer Schools Act.”
No student or teacher should ever feel unsafe in the classroom. But unfortunately, this is becoming a reality in our society due to an increase in tragic incidents where students and teachers have lost their lives on school grounds. We must take steps to try to prevent these tragedies from happening. One such step that can be taken is assessing physical safety measures at schools and exploring how different measures may help law enforcement better respond when an incident occurs. Unfortunately, not all schools have the resources to assess and implement these safety measures.
Your legislation would assist schools by creating two pilot grant programs for public schools within the U.S. Department of Justice. One grant program would be for risk assessment of public schools conducted by a verified Federal, State or local law enforcement or appropriate agency and would cover 100% of the cost of the assessment. The other grant program would provide funding to fix the physical vulnerabilities that were identified in the risk assessment. This grant would cover 50% of the costs and also require the installation of at least one silent panic alarm linked to the closest law enforcement agency. These grant programs will help schools put in place safety measures that can help protect students and staff. This will assist law enforcement in responding faster and more effectively to any incident at a school while helping prevent further loss of life.
On behalf of the more than 356,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I am proud to offer our support for this legislation. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington office.