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Department of Public Safety Provides Additional Funding to Missouri Schools to Boost Safety

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This article originally appeared in KZRG. To view the original article, click here.


Public, charter schools are urged to apply before May 31st deadline



JEFFERSON CITY – The Department of Public Safety is providing additional funding of up to $1.5 million dollars to provide new, easy-to-use school safety planning software to more public and charter schools. The funding comes in two programs: one to provide physical security assessments (PSAs) and a second that allows schools to create specific emergency operation plans (EOPs) for their individual circumstances.

“Since Governor Parson’s Missouri School Safety Task Force issued its report in 2019, DPS and state government have been introducing new programs and additional funding to help boost security in Missouri schools,” Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten said. “These two programs, which we are providing at no cost to school districts and charter schools, can be used together to assess specific risks and vulnerabilities and then build emergency operations plans to respond to security gaps.”

DPS is providing:

* Up to $1 million for physical security assessment software that allows schools to conduct comprehensive security risk assessments of the interior and exterior of school buildings, detect potential vulnerabilities, and develop a full report for their district to be able to address security gaps.

DPS grant funding allows each district to access the software, designed by Strategos International, at no charge. Strategos, a respected Missouri-based security firm with global reach, calls the new program “Fortify.” Schools can register for free physical security assessments here. Schools can also call (888) 569-5444. The registration deadline is May 31, 2024, but school districts are encouraged to register as soon as possible.

* $500,000 will allow schools to create new or strengthen existing emergency operations plans through a web-based Emergency Operations Plan Development Tool. Over 245 Missouri school districts across the state have already taken advantage of this DPS-funded program through the Missouri Schools Boards’ Association. Now, additional schools can apply through May 31, 2024, to gain access to the program, which allows school districts and charter schools to create site-specific, all-hazard response plans over the course of the next year. The tool offers step-by-step instructions and suggestions, including spelling out specific roles for teachers, administrators and others.

The EOP tool also provides a safe storage site so plans can be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. To learn about the program or to sign up schools can go to MOSBA.org and select the School Safety tab. School staff may also contact the MSBA at (573) 208-7859 or email [email protected]. The registration deadline is May 31, 2024, but school districts are encouraged to register as soon as possible.

Through the PSA program, districts can identify security vulnerabilities for a building’s exterior, interior and perimeter, which may be used to begin developing a quality EOP or update an existing EOP. Together, the two programs can help districts create consistent, up-to-date all hazards EOPs based on nationally recognized best practice models.

These programs build on existing DPS school safety funding, including two new initiatives DPS launched in 2023 to bolster security and respond to threats in Missouri schools:

* School Mobile Emergency Alert App
The Raptor Technologies mobile emergency alert app was made available to all public school districts and charter schools in Missouri. Over 140 Missouri school districts and charter schools, representing more than 800 school buildings have taken advantage of the program that allows districts to create customized alert programs to respond to emergencies.

The app expedites an emergency response by allowing teachers and other school staff to quickly initiate an alert through their mobile device or computer. The silent alert works directly with 911 to provide critical information, such as the location within a school that the app was activated and school campus maps, to first responders, law enforcement, and campus personnel within seconds. Additionally, districts are able to schedule and manage their ongoing safety drills using the Raptor software. Schools may register with Raptor Technologies for the free program here.

* Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT)
DPS partnered with Missouri State University to provide free active shooter training to law enforcement agencies across the state utilizing the national standard for active shooter training. The curriculum is through the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center, based at Texas State University. In 2013, the FBI named the ALERRT curriculum the national standard for active shooter response training. In 2023, 12 ALERRT training sessions were held that were participated in by 191 Missouri law enforcement officers.

The Missouri program has expanded in 2024. Law enforcement officers may register here or the ALERRT training.
 
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