School resource officer incentive grants distributed statewide

Virginia

87 grants totaling more than $3.47 million to help with school safety

FREDERICK COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Over the past few years, across the country in counties big and small school safety has been a growing concern

“What we have done in Frederick County is we assess the need and we recommended that we have a school resource officer in everyone of our schools.” Sheriff Lenny Millholland says.

And to help make that recommendation a reality…Governor Ralph Northam recently announced that 87 grants totaling more than $3.47 million have been awarded to 53 localities throughout Virginia- including Frederick county…. this funding will enable local law enforcement agencies to fund new school resource officer and school security officer positions at k-12 public schools. Frederick County Sheriff Lenny Millholland says officers have had a presence in county schools for some years now, but the need to have them as permanent positions has grown

“School were utilized back in the 90’s but now they have a stronger role, and more responsibility.” he says.

And school safety division lieutenant Jason Cornwall agrees

“People want SRO’s in schools, they want to see SRO’s when they arrive when they leave, its that feeling of comfort to have that law enforcement officer in the schools.” Cornwall says.

But he says having SRO’s in schools is not only about protection . Its about creating partnership and developing programs that keep students interacting with law enforcement daily.

“We want to build that partnership with the schools and that trust with the students to know that they can come up to us anytime to talk about anything.” he says.

Officials say the grant money allows them to fund two SRO positions. Making it possible for them to go into the new school year with one in each of the county’s high school’s, middle, and elementary schools.

“If we can get in there early as we can and build that relationship from the ground level right on up to hopefully it effects their future and their adult life where we’ll still have that law enforcement community relationship, other than dealing with that person only if they commit a crime.” he says.

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