Grant aims to prevent school violence

By: Julie Snyder | C&G Newspapers | Published October 18, 2018

MACOMB COUNTY — Macomb County recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice aimed at preventing school violence.

The Macomb County Office of Emergency Management and Communications received a School Violence Prevention Program grant in the amount of $316,860 from the Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Grant funds will be used to hire personnel to work directly with local school districts, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and other public health and safety providers to enhance school safety efforts within the county.

According to Vicki Wolber, director of emergency management and communications for Macomb County, these individuals will use evidence-based school safety programs and national, state and local guidance to ensure that methodologies, tools and plans are current and can be utilized across the county. Planned initiatives include school threat and vulnerability assessments, emergency operations and response plan coordination, mental health training, conduct drills, exercises and public awareness education.

“No one jurisdiction, school or agency is subject to one individual stand-alone threat, hazard, incident, issue, etc.,” Wolber stated in a press release. “We need to partner and strategize together to create a comprehensive school safety program that will offer and provide broad-based coverage that is standardized, interoperable and multi-jurisdictional to ensure the safety of our children, first responders and the whole community.”

The competitive grant program, which was enabled through the Students, Teachers and Officers Preventing School Violence Act of 2018, awards funding directly to states, units of local government and Indian tribes to improve security at schools and on school grounds through evidence-based school safety programs. Macomb County has partnered with the Macomb Intermediate School District to implement and coordinate the provisions of its grant and to provide matching funds in the amount of $105,620.

“Our 21 local Macomb County superintendents are pleased to partner with Macomb County Emergency Management on this grant,” said MISD Superintendent Mike DeVault. “This will allow us to strengthen our ongoing cooperative efforts in the area of security and emergency planning.  We look forward to continuing our collaboration with our Macomb County school districts, law enforcement and Macomb County Emergency Management.”

There was $25 million available through the 2018 SVPP grant.

Macomb County’s funding is for a period of two years, and the county expects to begin implementation of the program in January 2019, officials stated.