The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day 2018 marked a tipping point in our public discourse about school violence. However, it also marked a turning point in how legislators approached the issue of school violence and safety.
In the months following the shooting Congress acted and passed the Students, Teachers, and Officers Prevention School Violence Act of 2018 (STOP School Violence Act of 2018). The STOP School Violence Act gave the Community Oriented Policing Service Office (COPS) authority to provide awards to improve security at schools and on school grounds through evidence-based school safety programs.
The resulting grants program – the School Violence Prevention Program – differ significantly from the previous programs under the Obama Administration and under the Title Acts. Where these grants frequently funded counseling programs and mental health programs they did not provide significant funding for technology and equipment that would harden the schools and support school resource officers.
According to Elizabeth Evans, Senior Grants Development Consultant for Education at the Grants Office, LLC, this year’s program has evolved from the 2018 program. “Last year’s grant proposals, like most first-year programs, were very much a shot in the dark,” she said. “For 2019, however, the grant solicitation is more focused and better organized.”
This year there are two major changes. Firstly, whereas schools had to apply through their local law enforcement partner in 2018, this year schools can apply as the lead applicant. “COPS really wants to foster collaboration in the grant application process,” shared Evans. “Last year’s grants tended to be either written by law enforcement or schools with little more than a signature from the other party, resulting in requests that weren’t meeting the needs of either law enforcement or schools.”
The other major change covers what is an allowable expense under the grant. “COPS has honed the list of permitted equipment for 2019,” Evans noted. “There’s a lot more direction; for example, fixed surveillance equipment on school property is an allowable expense, but body-worn cameras for school resource officers and mobile data terminals for police vehicles are off the list for 2019.”
What You Need to Know About the SVPP Grants:
Grant Program: COPS School Violence Prevention Program
Grant Status: Open
Grant Deadline: May 31st, 2019
Total Funds Available: Up to $25,000,000 is available in FY2019.
Individual Awards: Awards may be up to $500,000 each. Cost sharing/matching of 25% is required. Project periods will extend up to 24-months, starting October 1, 2019.
More Information: https://cops.usdoj.gov/svpp