Lance Secures $300K in School Safety Money for Berkeley Heights
BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. --- Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07), one of the congressional champions of the STOP School Violence Act, announced today the Township of Berkeley Heights has been awarded $297,673 in federal funds for major school security upgrades authorized through the new law. Lance stopped by Town Hall Thursday to relay the news.
“Our students must be protected against senseless violence to the greatest extent possible. This grant is great news for the Berkeley Heights community and the students, parents and faculty members who count on our schools to be a safe place. Our students need to feel safe in school to learn. The bipartisan STOP School Violence Act delivers to law enforcement and school officials the expertise, technology and funding needed to identify and prevent threats. I commend Berkeley Heights Mayor Woodruff, Police Chief DiPasquale, Superintendent Rattner and the Board of Education and school staff for applying for this grant and earning it. These security improvements will make a positive difference,” said Lance.
Mayor Bob Woodruff thanked Lance and police and school officials for their work together. “The residents of Berkeley Heights are most grateful of the support of Congressman Lance and his efforts in assisting us obtain this vital STOP School Violence grant. This important federal grant will go a long way for our police department and community in helping secure the safety of our schools and most importantly our children. Thank you everyone for working together.”
Chief John DiPasquale joined the event and spoke about the partnership between the police department and the Board of Education. “The Berkeley Heights Police Department and the Berkeley Heights Public School District have developed a trusted partnership based on the shared goal of providing a safe and comfortable environment for our school community. This federal grant not only allows us to do more to improve the security of our schools, it also shows that our comprehensive approach to school security is worthwhile.”
Judy Rattner, Superintendent of the Berkeley Heights Schools, also joined the announcement. “The Berkeley Heights Public School District is very fortunate to have such a strong and positive relationship with the Berkeley Heights Police Department. Throughout the years we have worked together to make our schools safe for our students and staff, the fact that we are receiving this grant from the federal government to support our continued efforts validates the work that has been done and is scheduled to occur.”
The federal funds are being awarded through the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). The Student Teachers and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act directs funds for training and security measures for schools to better recognize warning signs and institutes reporting systems for potential threats. It also creates grant funding to bolster school security, educate and train students and faculty, and support law enforcement officers and first responders who arrive on the scene of a school violence incident. The bill passed overwhelmingly this year thanks to the support of Lance and others in the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.