The Niagara County Sheriff's Office has been awarded a $215,000 grant from the United States Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). The grant will assist area schools and the Sheriff's Office in their efforts to prevent school violence.
The grants were offered to assist communities in combating school violence and were geared toward technology upgrades to assist in school security, as well as civilian staff, to assist in this project. The award for Niagara County will include a full time non-sworn staff member to act as the School Violence Prevention Coordinator. The grant was written to build on the partnership the Sheriff's Office has with local schools and will provide technology for the following school districts: Orleans/Niagara BOCES, Barker, Newfane, Royalton-Hartland and Starpoint. In addition, technology will be provided to assist Niagara Charter School with school safety and security.
The School Violence Prevention Coordinator will work with each of these schools to update and implement school safety plans, update site surveys at each of the school buildings and implement the technology acquired through the grant. The Coordinator will also be an active member at each of the schools required safety committees and will provide training to each district as needed in the area of school safety. They will also be a resource for the students in each of these schools and would also act as a liaison between the schools and the Sheriff's Office, as well as other local police departments.
The grant covers a two year period and requires a local match of $72,000, which has been committed by the schools and Niagara County. It will assist Niagara County in ensuring the safety of students throughout the county and the Sheriff's Office hopes to utilize the School Violence Prevention Coordinator in all of the schools in Niagara County if requested. "The program being awarded in Niagara County is a great achievement for local law enforcement and our citizens," commented James R. Voutour, Niagara County Sheriff. "There were only two awards from this grant in New York State and Niagara County received the highest amount. This position and technology will assist in our mission to protect the citizens of Niagara County, especially those in an educational environment".