The city is among 169 schools statewide receiving $5 million in state funds to upgrade security in buildings throughout the district.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today announced funds awarded in the first round of the Competitive Grant Program for school security, part of the Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety Act. The money reimburse municipalities for a portion of the costs associated security infrastructure improvements made in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
Middletown will contribute $46,998 in local funding to be matched by $76,002 from the state.
“After the horrific events on Dec. 14, Connecticut cities and towns moved swiftly to improve security infrastructures at schools in need,” Malloy said. “We will never be able to prevent every random act, but we can take the steps necessary to make sure that our children and our teachers are as safe as possible.”
Since last year's shootings, says Lt. Heather Desmond of the Middletown Police Department, officers have a presence in every one of the city's schools. "We do have an increased presence in the schools," she said, but declined to go into specifics, as releasing details could jeopardize safety. Some officers are in uniform, she said, but others, such as one at Macdonough Elementary, are in plain clothes.
Superintendent Patricia Charles announced earlier this month that emergency and crisis response drills are being practiced throughout the district, in collaboration with fire, police and emergency medical services personnel. Fire/evacuation, lockdown and shelter-in-place/drop and cover practice runs are held periodically in Middletown schools.
State Sen. Paul Doyle (D-Wethersfield) today welcomed the news.
“If we want to safeguard our children’s safety, then we need to modernize our school infrastructure and security systems,” Doyle said. “We created this program so that towns could work in conjunction with the state to make sure that they have the most up-to-date surveillance cameras, buzzer and card entry systems, and other security systems. This is a good step toward making our schools the safest they can be.”
The grants, administered by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection in consultation with the Department of Education and the Department of Construction Services, were based on a school security assessment survey conducted by each local school district that applied. Investments from municipalities, which total $3,921,435, will be matched for an overall $8,911,853 investment in school security among 169 schools.
DESPP received 111 applications for proposed infrastructure projects in 604 school buildings, consisting of the installation of surveillance cameras, bullet-proof glass, electric locks, buzzer and card entry systems, and panic alarms.
Other school districts receiving awards are: Avon, Bridgeport, Cheshire, Danbury, Derby, East Hartford, Enfield, Greenwich, Hamden, Hartford, Killingly, Ledyard, Mansfield, Meriden, Montville, Naugatuck, New Britain, New Hartford, North Haven, Norwalk, Plymouth, Portland, Regional School District No. 6 (Warren, Morris and Goshen), Regional School District No. 14 (Woodbury and Bethlehem), Rocky Hill, Shelton, Southington, Stamford, Sterling, Stratford, Vernon, West Haven, Westport, Wethersfield, and Winchester.