New Statewide School Security Initiative, Mapping K-12 NJ School
A new school safety initiative in New Jersey, funded by $6.5 million in American Rescue Plan funds, aims to collect and digitize school building blueprints and make them available to first responders.
With a dramatic spike in mass casualty incidents, particularly within school settings, research points to law enforcement’s timely response and access to school blueprints as a significant factor leading to the successful protection of our state’s schools – particularly during mass casualty incidents like school shootings.
Currently, New Jersey first responders have access to Collaborative Response Graphics (CRG) – a system that uses standardized floor plans and photos to map out single floors and multi-level buildings – for approximately 1,500 of the state’s 3,000 schools, or about 50% of NJ schools.
This new initiative signed by Governor Murphy aims to help fund NJ law enforcement efforts to collect blueprints and digitize the remaining 1,500 unmapped schools in New Jersey.
Investing in this new initiative allows the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and the New Jersey State Police to contract with an outside vendor to assist with mapping the remaining NJ schools.
Once schematics are collected for every school and digitized into map form, local law enforcement officers will conduct annual walkthroughs of each school building to ensure the mapping data is accurate.
What are they saying?
“With the epidemic of gun violence reaching every part of our communities, including our schools, we offer our families not empty promises, but concrete investments in tools and resources that will keep our students safe,” said Governor Murphy. “Nothing is more important than the safety of our children and the educators who help our children achieve their full potential. In order to protect our children and educators, we must equip our first responders with the most up-to-date 21st-century technology so that they can respond to emergencies without unnecessary delay.”
“School building floor plans play an important role in how quickly and effectively law enforcement can respond to emergencies, and protect the lives of our children and educators,” said Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin. “By investing in digital blueprint mapping software for every K-12 school in New Jersey, law enforcement and school administrators will have the information they need to act swiftly and precisely.”
“Every minute counts during a school emergency and making digital blueprints and maps available will assist law enforcement throughout the state in a timely response, and campus navigation,” Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, Acting Commissioner of Education.
“Given the rise in school shootings around the country, it is paramount that, in addition to having among the strongest gun safety laws in the nation and bolstering mental health services, we also do all we can to protect our students through providing law enforcement and first responders with every available tool that could help save lives,” said Senator Joseph Lagana. “Access to digital floor plans will better prepare local law enforcement and first responders in the case of any emergency situation.”