HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The Department of Justice announced Friday it’s giving $150,000 to put police officers in schools in Newtown in the wake of last December’s shooting massacre at the town’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The grant from the department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance is intended to fund two positions, such as resource officers.
“Just over nine months after the senseless mass shooting at Sandy Hook, we remain committed to providing every resource we can to ensure that the children of Newtown can feel safe and secure at school and elsewhere,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “And as we hold lost loved ones in our thoughts and prayers, we resolve to continue to support and protect this community _ and to help them heal together.”
In August, the Department of Justice authorized spending another $2.5 million in Newtown to help compensate police for overtime, forensic work and security since the shooting. Twenty first-graders and six adults were gunned down in the rampage, one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history. The gunman, who had killed his mother at home before going to the school, killed himself as police closed in.
Police have been present since January at the school Sandy Hook students are using. The town’s high school and one of its middle schools also have resource officers.
The district’s acting school superintendent, John Reed, declined to comment Friday on the Department of Justice announcement through an assistant, who said the schools had not been notified about the funds.
Newtown established a school security committee last year and has been working with New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice on a security analysis of all its schools.
Reed sent a letter to parents last month informing them of several security improvements, including the installation of security cameras in all schools.
The committee has said its goal is to have the full-time presence of one police officer and at least one trained security officer at each school building during regular school hours and it expects that to occur shortly after winter break.
Also on Friday, the State Bond Commission approved a $3.7 million grant for Newtown to finance the planning, design and site preparation costs for a new Sandy Hook Elementary School.
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