Syracuse, New York – Joined today by local law enforcement and school officials at the Onondaga County Sherriff’s Office, U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) detailed his efforts in Congress to bolster school safety and keep children safe.
“The horrific shooting that occurred in Parkland in February left our nation raw with shock, sadness, and anger. In the weeks and months that followed, students, teachers, parents, and families around the country and here in Central New York grieved the loss of innocent lives and have demanded action,” said Rep. John Katko. “I’ve had the opportunity to meet with members of our local law enforcement, school administrators and teachers, and most importantly, with our students. In several meeting with groups of students from school districts across the 24th Congressional District, these articulate and well-informed young men and women have made clear that they simply want to feel safe and secure when they go to school. I took what I heard from these students back to Washington and proudly advocated on their behalf. Because of the efforts of myself and other lawmakers seeking productive change, Congress authorized over $2.3 billion in new funding in the recent omnibus bill for mental health, training, and school safety efforts to keep children and schools safe.”
Significantly, the omnibus included an increase in funding for federal grants so that schools may partner with local law enforcement to hire resource officers. These grants, known as COPS grants, allow our local law enforcement and school districts to work together to hire School Resource Officers and keep our schools safe.
Additionally, because of the advocacy of Rep. Katko and others in Congress, the bill also fully funds the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and ensures that it operates more adequately to address background check demand and improve NICS performance, including enhancing system availability, determination rates, and E-Check services.
In addition, this measure includes funding for:
- Active shooter training for police
- Peer-to-peer mentoring for at-risk youth
- Violent Crime and Gun Crime Reduction/Project Safe Neighborhoods
- Gang and Youth violence Education and Prevention funding
- Department of Education funding to improve students’ safety and well-being through grants that support school mental health services, bullying and harassment prevention, mentoring and school counseling and training for school personnel.
Syracuse City School District Superintendent Jaime Alicea, West Genesee School District Superintendent Dr. Chris Brown, City of Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler, City of Auburn Police Chief Shawn Butler, and members of the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office.