GRANGER & BENTON COUNTY, WA - The Department of Justice awarded more than $85 million in grants to address school violence across the U.S.
Granger School District and the Benton County Sheriff's Office received $481,955 in grants to help prevent violence in schools. The money will be used to help boost school security, including funding to educate and train students and faculty, and support first responders who arrive on scene of a school shooting or other violent incidents.
Benton County Sheriff's Office wants to help tackle and prevent school violence before it even starts with the roll-out of a new program.
Lieutenant Erik Magnuson, with Benton County Sheriff's Office says they want to prevent everything from fighting, bullying, shoot shootings and even suicides.
"Training with the school faculty, including mental health and law enforcement and really looking at things from a lot of different perspectives," Magnuson said.
Magnuson said the goal is to get everyone on the same page about how to prevent possible violence and what to look for.
"We want to come up with better ways of reporting possible violence, and also educating people to include educating police officers and better ways to respond to mental health crises and deal with that appropriately," Magnuson said.
For parents Miram Bradshaw and Tami McCain, they say it gives them a sense of relief.
"I think its great because if they understand the student body then there's a much bigger chance that it's not going to escalate because they will know what to do," Bradshaw said.
The program will also provide training for officers with 3-D imaging of each school to help them know what to expect on campus before they arrive on scene.
"I love the idea of having that mesh with first responders and students and everyone is in the loop, so if something - god forbid - happens, then you do have that connection there and people know what they are doing even in a chaotic situation,"McCain said.
The program will first start with local high schools in Benton County. But, Magnuson said the end goal is to incorporate every local school.
"It's something we have to take very seriously and if you can prevent it that's the best case scenario," Magnuson said.
For a complete list of what the grants will include, visit the Department of Justice's Eastern District of Washington website.