KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) The Kearney Public School district received a federal security grant for $326,264 from the COPS School Violence Prevention Program, a competitive award program that provides funding to improve security at schools through school safety programs. The grant funds will be used to help improve student safety and security throughout our school district. The COPS project will provide for a comprehensive response to identifying and preventing violence in the Kearney Public Schools (KPS).
“When it comes to the safety and security of our students and staff, taking intentional steps for improvement remains a core mission in our district,” stated KPS Superintendent Kent Edwards. “Like our peers, we have not been exempt from the challenges associated with addressing bullying and student suicide. As parents and educators, we are working daily to reduce and prevent these from happening in our schools and in our community. This grant provides our schools with much-needed resources to increase our safety and security measures.”
The goal of the COPS program is to improve student safety and security at KPS schools by purchasing security equipment and training KPS and KPD personnel in additional school security measures. According to KPS Associate Superintendent, Jason Mundorf, the grant will provide $326,264 in funding over the next two years. As a requirement of the grant, KPS will provide an additional $108,754 toward the grant programming.
“This grant will help us create and maintain a safe school environment for all of our students,” stated Mundorf. “This grant provides us with equipment and training and allows us to enhance our security budget. The COPS programming fits in seamlessly with the 13 other security programs and measures we currently have in practice. We are excited to enhance our school security through this grant and we appreciate the work of Mark Whitacre and others in securing it!”
KPS partnered with KPD to have more officers trained in the Celebrite program. The Celebrite program is a forensic telephone recovery program used by KPD to open up cell phones to track communications history. KPD has one officer trained in Celebrite and this grant will allow for two more officers to be trained. KPD will receive $21,400 in grant funding for these programs.
“As Law Enforcement Professionals, members of the Kearney Police Department continually look for opportunities to partner with our community in areas of safety, security, prevention, and preparedness in order to mitigate tragic circumstances within our schools,” said KPD Police Chief, Bryan Waugh. “These resources will allow our agency to provide valuable training for our School Resource Officers and Police Officers in areas which will have a direct impact on these goals.”
The $435,018. COPS grant includes intercom system upgrades at eight schools ($240,000), 15 digital handheld radios ($22,500), in-bus cameras ($45,000), additional security cameras for schools ($26,000), security monitoring services in conjunction with the Buffalo County Sheriff ($9,168), communication monitoring with GagleNet($26,000), and an upgraded communication system for website and phone/text/email system ($35,460). The grant also includes Milestone Care Renewal for camera monitoring ($9,500), advanced SRO training for the three SROs ($3,000), Celebrite training for two officers ($11,400) and the cost for active shooter drills ($6,990).