Schools receive security grants

Published 2:48 pm Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Gov. Terry McAuliffe awarded security equipment grants to schools across the commonwealth, including Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward counties. The grants, totaling $6 million, “will pay for video monitoring systems, metal detectors, electronic-access controls, visitor-identification systems, direct communication links between schools and law enforcement agencies, and other security upgrades in 434 schools and instructional facilities,” according to a press release from the governor.

Ninety-six school divisions and five regional education programs benefited from the funding.

Cumberland County received the largest grant, with $64,000 provided for its high school. Prince Edward received $58,189 for its high, middle, elementary and vocational technical schools.

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The state gave $15,299 to Buckingham for the Buckingham County Pre-Kindergarten Center as well as Buckingham County high and middle schools.

“We are quite pleased to have received this funding because these particular funds aid in both growth and sustainability within our security system,” Buckingham Superintendent Dr. Cecil Snead said.

Snead said the county appreciated the collaboration of the school board, board of supervisors, security committee and administration to integrate a camera system to connect the entire school system with local law enforcement.

The funds will be used to upgrade and replace some of the cameras making up that system, in addition to helping with the purchase of portable metal detectors, Snead said.

“Hypothetically, the portable metal detectors would be used in the event we have an emergency situation or security breach at any school site or property owned by the school board,” he said.

Cumberland Superintendent Dr. Amy Griffin said she is grateful for the funds and thanked IT Supervisor Chris Hartley for his efforts to secure the grant.

Hartley said the funds will secure additional security cameras and add DVR capabilities to monitor Cumberland High School’s bus loop and office areas, in addition to updating its failing intercom systems with a more robust, internet protocol-based system. The system will include centralized mass notification features, centralized bell schedules, centralized clock control and centralized system maintenance.

Prince Edward Superintendent Dr. Barbara Johnson said this year’s grant funds will help install security systems at all three schools and add electronic card readers to the County Career & Technical Education Center and Middle school.