The Westfield Police Department in cooperation with the Westfield School Department has received a two year federal grant in the amount of $258,689.00 from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
This grant was a nationwide competitive process with the title of “School Violence Prevention Program.” There were 91 awards made for the 2018 fiscal year ranging from $13,000 to $500,000. With this grant the City of Westfield will be supplying training to both the police department and school department, as well as making significant security upgrades to all eleven public schools.
As part of the training portion of the grant, the Westfield Police Department Special Response Team will be attending training in New York State, the New York Tactical Officers Association Training Conference (NYTOA). This training teaches current best practices from around the country in dealing with active shooter situations and combatants of all types.
Once the Special Response Team receives the most up to date training from around the country, they will perform a department wide training on active shooter situations and advanced lock down procedures for our schools. Although the police department has done this many times in the past, it has been almost five years since the last department wide training. This funding will allow officers access to the most up to date, best practices in the industry.
The final piece of training will involve school staff, councilors and police officers receiving training in the formation of threat assessment teams. Training provided by the U.S. Secret Service will provide guidelines on how to set up a team which will then handle specific threats made at schools, but even more importantly, help to identify behavior in students that might be warning signs of more significant issues.
A large portion of the funding from this grant will be used to provide physical security measures. Each school will be outfitted with controlled access, key card security locks. This will enable officials to monitor who enters a school, at what time, and through which door. In addition, the small number of existing security cameras will be upgraded and new cameras will be installed at all Westfield Schools.
This grant will enable the City of Westfield to make some much needed security and training updates in order to make our students even safer than they are today.