Syracuse, New York – U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) and Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway today announced that the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded nearly $250,000 in federal funding by the U.S. Department of Justice as part of the STOP School Violence Prevention and Mental Health Training Program. Last year, Rep. Katko and Sheriff Conway urged support for this type of funding to bolster school safety and keep children safe following the horrific shooting in Parkland, Florida.
The $249,989 in new funding will be used by the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office to train school personnel and educate students to prevent violence. It will allow for the development and operation of anonymous reporting systems against threats of school violence, including mobile telephone applications, hotlines, and websites. It will assist in the development of school threat assessment and crisis intervention team, and improve training for school officials to help intervene and respond to individuals with mental health issues that could impact school safety.
“Following the horrific shooting in Parkland, Florida, last year I joined Sheriff Conway to urge support for federal grant programming to allow partnerships between law enforcement and school districts to prevent school violence and keep our children safe,” said Rep. John Katko. “This new award will allow the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department to involve school resource officers, teachers, and students in implementing school safety training, and will provide greater access to mental health programs. The safety of our students is critically important, and this funding will help ensure teachers and children feel safe and secure when they go to school.”
“Putting an end to school violence will require a collective effort from law enforcement, school personnel, parents and students. This award will help facilitate the progress that has already begun here in Onondaga County and will build on the momentum necessary to provide for a safe environment in our schools. I thank Congressman Katko for advocating for this type of federal funding,” said Sheriff Gene Conway.
The STOP School Violence Prevention and Mental Health Training Program is a program that supports efforts by state, local, and federally-recognized Indian tribes to prevent and reduce school violence. Funding for this program will support the improvement of school security by providing students and teachers with the tools they need to recognize and respond quickly to violent attacks, mitigate risk exposure, and prevent acts of violence. The funds further support the development of threat assessment and crisis intervention teams and anonymous reporting systems, designed to identify threats before they materialize, including those that originate from individuals with mental health issues; and for the training of students, school personnel, and local law enforcement officers necessary to partner together in preventing violent events from happening.