The Stimulus: Take the Steps to Get Your Share
Campus protection professionals who are creative, tap into training and construction grants, and have good working relationships with executive administrators and external stakeholders will be more successful in getting their projects funded.
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Incorporate Safety During Planning
“Should,” however, is the operative word here. With campus construction projects in general, security and emergency preparedness are often overlooked, according to Safe Havens International Executive Director Michael Dorn. “It just breaks your heart to go into a new facility and see where they missed a great opportunity to make it a lot safer and in some cases save a lot of money,” he says.
According to Dr. Randy Atlas of Atlas Safety and Security Design, campus police chiefs and security directors must be involved in the high-level discussions about construction and renovation so that architects and engineers can include security, safety and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). It’s much easier and less expensive to lay conduit and cable for security technology during the construction phase than later as a retrofit.
“Typically, I get the call after there has been a shooting, after a student has been assaulted or there has been a burglary,” says Atlas. “If the same level of effort were made to design security into our built environment, we would be saving money and getting more value, therefore stretching the stimulus and creating a more productive school.” (Article continues at bottom of page.)
Apply for More Than Just COPS, UASI Grants
Construction projects are just one example of how campus safety and security professionals must look beyond their normal sources for funds. Depending on the political climate and current events, the opportunities can change quickly, so those looking for money need to be flexible, creative, nimble and diligent.
“So many groups are going after the same grants,” says Cales. “Everyone’s going after COPS and UASI.” He recommends that campuses wanting to improve their safety and security programs look for grants that support infrastructure and people.
“If I want to improve student and teacher performance, then I need to upgrade my facilities and training programs,” he says. Part of the money for the hiring and training of teachers should include teacher emergency preparedness training and emergency notification. Facility upgrades should include safety and security technology, CPTED and mass notification.
The Department of Education’s recently unveiled a $4.35 billion Race to the Top program would be an opportunity to take this approach.
Even private institutions can benefit from the stimulus, although they have more obstacles than state institutions. “It’s the hospitals that accept a certain number of indigent patients or accept some of the programs from HealthIT that pull down dollars,” says Cales.
Grant Writers Can Help
Institutions with resourceful and knowledgeable grant writers often have more success in locating the less obvious sources income.
“They are always looking for new buckets of money,” says School Safety Partners Chairman John Simmons about the grant team at Pueblo County (Colo.) school district, which just purchased an interoperable communications system. The district paid for the technology with non-stimulus grants from the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program and DHS’ Public Safety Interoperability Communications Program. (Article continues below)
He also says there are other sources available, if you know where to look. “There is the issue of food defense, so now there are possibilities over at the department of agriculture. You get an issue like swine flu that comes up, and al
l of a sudden, funding becomes available for that particular issue.”
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