SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Security Industry Association (SIA) supports the inclusion of a new school safety initiative in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 (H.R. 3547) cleared by Congress on Jan. 16 and poised for enactment by President Barack Obama.
Specifically, the omnibus appropriations bill contains $75 million for the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative, a new program to be administered by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) at the U.S. Department of Justice. The funding would provide resources to assess methods to secure schools and to investigate the causes of school shootings.
During the past year, SIA has pressed Congress to provide assistance to schools to improve security, supporting legislation authored by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., to restore grant funding to the Secure Our Schools grants program at the Department of Justice.
The funding in the omnibus bill could pave the way for greater investment in vital security systems for school safety, SIA CEO Don Erickson says.
“The funding in the omnibus bill reflects broad agreement in principle throughout Congress that modern security technologies can save lives in the face of an active shooter at U.S. schools,” he says. “While school safety and security have continued to improve since the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012, leadership from the federal government will provide important guidance for more schools to make smart choices when investing in security systems. SIA looks forward to contributing to that guidance through our SIA Education Interest Group.”
Of the $75 million in the bill, $50 million would go toward pilot projects at schools to test technologies to improve school safety, training for school personnel and other initiatives. Another $25 million would go to research efforts by the NIJ specifically to evaluate and determine the most effective methods for improving school safety, including innovative facility design and use of security cameras and other technologies.