Northam announces 53 localities receive $3.47 million in school resource officer incentive grants

Gov. Ralph Northam announced that 87 grants totaling more than $3.47 million have been awarded to 53 localities throughout Virginia.

This funding will enable local law enforcement agencies to fund new school resource officer (SRO) and school security officer (SSO) positions at K-12 public schools. The grants were awarded by the Criminal Justice Services Board at their May 9 meeting as well as the Executive Committee, on behalf of the Board, at a special meeting held earlier today.

“It is paramount that we continue to make smart investments to keep Virginia schools safe and to create supportive learning environments for our students,” said Northam. “The school resource officers and school security officers hired through these grants not only make our schools safer, but also enhance our communities by building strong positive relationships with students, faculty, and parents.”

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Funding for the grants came from the state-funded School Resource Officer/School Security Officer Incentive Grant Program. Earlier this year, Governor Northam approved the General Assembly’s amendment to add an additional $3 million for this program in order to increase the number of schools in the Commonwealth with SROs or SSOs.

“I am pleased to see law enforcement agencies and school divisions taking advantage of this funding to add new or additional school resource and school security officers to their schools,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran. “School resource officers and school security officers continue to support a safe environment for students, teachers, and administrators.”

In response to the grant solicitation, the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety received 91 grant applications from 53 localities requesting over $3 million in grant funds. The 87 grants approved by the Board will fund 77 SRO and 10 SSO grants in localities throughout the Commonwealth, placing SRO and SSO positions at 45 elementary schools, 17 middle schools, and 31 high schools.

“These additional positions will increase the number of SROs in Virginia by 10 percent,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “I am pleased to see our schools are continuing to partner with their local law enforcement agencies to provide a safe learning community for our students.”

As a recipient of the grant, SROs and SSOs are required to attend a 4.5-day training on the roles and responsibilities of an SRO/SSO, legal issues in schools, adolescent brain development and trauma, mental health issues, students with disabilities, and more.

“Over the past three fiscal years, the Center has conducted 291 training courses and conferences, which have been attended by nearly 16,800 individuals,” said DCJS Director Shannon Dion. “The Center has shaped the landscape for school resources officers and school safety in Virginia, and we fully intend to continue that trend.”

Information on the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety and the localities receiving funding is available on the DCJS website.

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