53 Virginia Localities Awarded $3.47 Million in SRO Incentive Grants
The grants will fund 87 new positions, increasing the number of school resource officers by 10% in the state of Virginia.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced 87 grants totaling more than $3.47 million have been awarded to 53 localities.
The funding will enable local law enforcement agencies to fund new school resource officer and school security officer positions at K-12 public schools, according to a press release. The 87 grants will fund 77 SRO and 10 SSO grants, 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.”
Funding for the grants came from the state-funded School Resource Officer/School Security Officer Incentive Grant Program. Earlier this year, Northam approved an additional $3 million for the program.
“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.”
The new SROs and SSOs will be required to attend 4.5-day training on the roles and responsibilities of SROs/SSOs, legal issues in schools, adolescent brain development and trauma, mental health issues, students with disabilities, and more.
Training will be provided by the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety.
“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 Department of Criminal Justice Services (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.”
The grants were awarded by the Criminal Justice Services Board at their May 9 meeting.
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