Schools across the country–including in Newtown–will be getting extra guards, the Department of Justice announced Friday.
As part of the Obama administration’s effort to ramp up school security after last year’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, the Justice Department plans to award $125 million in grants nationally, which includes about $45 million for 356 new school resource officer positions.
“In the wake of past tragedies, it’s clear that we need to be willing to take all possible steps to ensure that our kids are safe when they go to school,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement. “These critical investments represent the Justice Department’s latest effort to strengthen key law enforcement capabilities, and to provide communities with the resources they need to protect our young people. Especially in a time of increased challenges and limited budgets, our top priority must always be the safety and well-being of our children.”
The DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) said 263 cities and counties will receive the benefits, with the ultimate goal of creating 937 law enforcement positions.
Sacramento, Houston, Hartford, Des Moines, Milwaukee, Charleston, Louisville and Seattle are on the recipients list. They were chosen based on their financial and community protection needs, as well as local crime rates.
“The COPS Office is pleased to assist local law enforcement agencies throughout the country address their most critical public safety issues,” said Joshua Ederheimer, Acting Director of the COPS Office. “Funding from this year’s program will allow many cities and counties to apply new sworn personnel to issues related to violent crime, property crime and school safety.”
Attorney General Eric Holder also announced funding specifically aimed at hiring more school resource officers in Newtown, Conn. A separate grant offered though the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance will provide $150,000 to the district.