Grant money for school resource officers - - Jackson, MS

Grant money for school resource officers

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

We know first hand how a school shooting can devastate a community. Sixteen years after the Pearl Shooting, the horror of that day has not been forgotten.

The recent shooting in Connecticut compelled Mississippi lawmakers to offer up money to reinforce school security.

Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves first proposed the grant program called, Mississippi Community Oriented Policing or MCOPS, after the Newton shooting.

"We think this is an additional step that will help make our kids safe and safer in our schools," Reeves said in a press conference during the last legislative session.

There's been two waves of a competitive application process. Each district gets $10,000 per officer that they request. The Department of Education says those officers go in well-prepared.

"They go through the law enforcement and standards training, as well as a week long school resource officer basic training and then every school resource officer is actually trained on the alert system. And it is designed to eliminate any threat as soon as possible," said Shane McNeill, Director of the Office of Safe and Orderly Schools.

The city of Clinton applied for the grant in connection with the school district. They currently have two resource officers. The money will go towards their salaries.

"This is just a help to us to make sure that we continue to provide this service to the school district and maybe this allows us to do this at a little higher level," said Clinton Police Chief Mike Warren.

He put the importance of the officers in perspective saying, "At any given time, a large portion of what is Clinton is in one of those schools. or going to or leaving from. so it's real important that we keep that very healthy."

The officers are the first point of contact for staff and students. They can help to pass on what they learn in training about emergency response.

The Department of Education says they expect to open up the program for a third wave of applications soon.

So far, 50 districts statewide will get this one-year grant. The break-down is money for 157 trained officers.

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