In August, the Senators sent a letter in support of the Auburn Police Department’s grant application
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced that the Auburn Police Department has been awarded $376,481 from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) to enhance and further integrate local school violence prevention efforts between school administrators and law enforcement
“Protecting students and ensuring that schools remain safe learning environments are of paramount importance,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “We welcome this investment, which will help the City of Auburn upgrade its technology to enhance communication between the school and police departments and allow law enforcement to rapidly address potential threats.”
“The City is excited about this grant opportunity as it will help us forge our partnership with our school departments in maximizing the safety of our students,” said Jason Moen, Interim Chief of Police of the Auburn Police Department. “This grant will play a critical element in our efforts to keep our kids safe.”
There are a total of 19 schools in Auburn and Lewiston, including two high schools, two middle schools, 13 elementary schools, a regional special education center, and an alternative school. Each city has three dedicated school resource officers that utilize radios to communicate with school administrators, but the current system does not penetrate the buildings or transmit signals beyond school grounds. Administrators and law enforcement must therefore rely on cell phone service that may not be reliable and could lead to further threats to safety during an emergency.
Through this grant, the Auburn Police Department will be able to acquire a new radio system with up-to-date technology to facilitate a more coordinated approach to school violence prevention. With the help of local funding, the department will be able to purchase 138 emergency portable radios that will put school staff directly in contact with the 911 communication center. The portable radios will also have GPS tracking that will pinpoint the location of the threat.
This funding is provided through the DOJ’s Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP): School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP), a competitive grant program that assists schools in purchasing and installing technology to increase safety in schools throughout the country through evidence-based school safety programs.
The COPS Office has invested more than $900 million in American schools through grant programs such as Secure Our Schools, COPS in Schools, School-Based Partnerships, and the Safe Schools Initiative.