Grants providing needed services

Published 1:59 pm Thursday, June 20, 2019

It was announced last week that 87 grants totaling more than $3.47 million have been awarded to 53 localities throughout Virginia. This funding will enable local law enforcement agencies to fund new School Resource Officer (SRO) and School Security Officer (SSO) positions at K-12 public schools. The grants were awarded by the Criminal Justice Services Board at their May 9 meeting as well as the executive committee, on behalf of the Board, at a special meeting.

Funding for the grants came from the state-funded School Resource Officer/School Security Officer Incentive Grant Program. Earlier this year, Governor Northam approved the General Assembly’s amendment to add an additional $3 million for this program to increase the number of schools in the commonwealth with SROs or SSOs.

In response to the grant solicitation, the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety received 91 grant applications from 53 localities requesting over $3 million in grant funds. The 87 grants approved by the Board will fund 77 SRO and 10 SSO grants in localities throughout the commonwealth, placing SRO and SSO positions at 45 elementary schools, 17 middle schools and 31 high schools.

As a recipient of the grant, SROs and SSOs are required to attend a 4.5-day training on the roles and responsibilities of an SRO/SSO, legal issues in schools, adolescent brain development, trauma, mental health issues, students with disabilities and more.

In the 59th District, Buckingham county local administration will receive $14,672 for School Resource Officer/School Security Officer Grant Program. The Nelson County Sherriff’s Office will also receive $30,654 for School Resource Officer/School Security Officer Grant Program.

With the primary elections concluded, the 2019 General Election is coming into full focus. There is a lot at stake in 2019. Republicans hold a one seat advantage in the House and Senate. If Democrats win just one seat, they will have one-party rule in the commonwealth.

Democrats want to raise taxes on hardworking Virginians, make abortion legal for almost any reason up until the moment of birth, and enact an energy tax scheme that would increase electricity bills for seniors and families. They’ve blocked an investigation into Justin Fairfax’s sexual assault allegation while refusing to give tougher sentences to Domestic abusers.

With the majority, Republicans will be able to stop the Democratic agenda and build on our consistent track record that has made Virginia a great place to raise a family.

We’ve expanded health care access and passed legislation to lower health care costs. We led the charge for a 5 percent teacher pay raise this year and want to build on that in the future. We froze college tuition and are making that a top priority next year. We passed legislation that Democrats now oppose to require repeat domestic abusers to spend 60-days in jail, so victims can get the safety and space they need.

Del. C. Matthew Fariss represents Buckingham in the Virginia House of Delegates. His email address is DelMFariss@house.virginia.gov.