EPS receives $493K federal School Violence Prevention grant

ELIZABETH, NJ — Elizabeth Public Schools was recently awarded $493K in federal funding for a two-year period through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services’ School Violence Prevention Program.

The COPS SVPP is a competitive award program designed to provide funding to improve security at schools and on school grounds in the grantee’s jurisdiction through evidence-based school safety programs.

Among the provisions funded by the SVPP grant are coordination with local law enforcement; training for local law enforcement officers to prevent school violence against others and self; placement and use of metal detectors, locks, lighting and other deterrent measures; acquisition and installation of technology for expedited notification of local law enforcement during an emergency; and any other measure that, in the determination of the director of the COPS office, may provide a significant improvement in security.

The COPS office is the component of the U.S. Department of Justice responsible for advancing the practice of community policing by the nation’s state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies through information and grant resources. It was formed in 1994 to distribute and monitor funding for these efforts following the passage of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.
In 2022, there were 235 grant awardees from 44 states that received a total of nearly $72M in funding. Elizabeth Public Schools was one of nine school districts and municipalities in New Jersey to receive funding through the SVPP.

The district plans to use the grant award to help limit and protect entry points at various schools and administrative offices, including addressing fencing for outside playgrounds, safety gates for parking lots, front door video surveillance cameras, metal detectors and security wands.

“Over the past few years, we have been able to make significant upgrades to our security infrastructure through grant funding from the COPS School Violence Prevention Program, such as installing 360-degree surveillance cameras at various high-traffic locations and installing safety door locks for classroom and office doors throughout the district,” said Elizabeth Public Schools Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer. “We appreciate the Department of Justice for their generous support in helping us create warm, safe learning communities.”

“The safety of our students and team members is always the top priority of school districts,” said Elizabeth Board of Education President Rosa E. Moreno Ortega. “We will continuously seek ways to enhance our schools and offices to ensure that all Elizabeth Public Schools members are in safe environments where high-quality education can thrive.”