Murphy Spearheads a $5.79 Million Investment to Enhance Statewide School Security
In the continued pursuit of improving safety in New Jersey’s schools, Governor Phil Murphy announced a $5.79 million investment from federal funds aimed at enhancing critical incident mapping efforts. This initiative, building on last year's investment, strives to digitally archive blueprints of K-12 school buildings statewide, facilitating swift and effective responses from law enforcement during emergencies.
This additional investment comes after Governor Murphy unveiled a $6.5 million funding scheme for critical incident mapping in August 2022, leading to a legislative requirement for all public and non-public schools to submit their mapping data to local law enforcement agencies.
“In the face of our country’s ongoing epidemic of gun violence, both in and out of schools, this information is unfortunately yet undeniably necessary to help ensure the safety of our students and educators,” stated Governor Murphy.
The New Jersey State Police, in partnership with an appointed vendor, are actively working on collecting updated school maps and transferring that information to a statewide electronic database.
Officials across the state have praised Governor Murphy's initiative. Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin remarked, “Thanks to Governor Murphy's leadership, we're taking another significant step forward in protecting our students and teachers." Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, echoed this sentiment, hailing the initiative as another step towards making schools safer.
The Acting Commissioner of Education, Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, emphasized the role of cutting-edge technology in providing students with the safest learning environment possible. New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Laurie Doran highlighted the importance of collaboration and information sharing in maintaining school safety across the state.
With at least 380 school shootings occurring across the US since 1999, including 46 last year alone, the need for efficient emergency responses has never been more critical. Once all the schematics for New Jersey's school buildings are collected, local law enforcement will conduct annual walkthroughs to ensure the accuracy of the mapping data.
The funding comes from the remaining federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Emergency Assistance for Non-Public Schools (CRRSA EANS) and American Rescue Plan (ARP) EANS funds. These funds will be redistributed to the State Police to further enhance the security of New Jersey schools.
“Critical incident mapping represents cutting edge technology, especially for law enforcement, but also for other first responders in the event of a school shooting or other school-related emergencies,” said Senator Joe Lagana.
Assemblyman Gary Schaer commended Governor Murphy for employing federal funds to develop comprehensive resiliency measures that will help to counter the national surge in school shootings, emphasizing the importance of preparedness in all of New Jersey’s public and private schools.