Grant will help keep Summit’s schools safer
SUMMIT COUNTY The Summit County Sheriff’s Office works by the standard that an officer, or any emergency responder, should be able to go into any large building and communicate with dispatchers using just a two-way radio. But sometimes meeting that standard is “iffy” inside of Summit County’s schools because the steel or concrete can interfere with the signal, Sheriff John Minor said.”While the communication is OK, it’s not great at times,” Minor said. “I’m sure we’ve got a couple of dead spots in these buildings.”A recently awarded $245,000 Secure Our Schools grant should greatly improve communication abilities inside three of Summit County’s schools, and help pay for upgrades to security camera equipment.The Sheriff’s Office applied for the federal grant, but will leave the implementation of the money up to the school district, Minor said.The money will pay for a bi-directional amplifier in Summit High School and Summit Cove and Silverthorne elementary schools, which will enhance the radio communication inside those buildings, as well as security camera upgrades in the high school and middle school, said Summit School District facilities manager Dave Myers.”It’s going to be a neat thing,” Myers said. “Anything to make schools safer.”Myers said the district has its first meeting with Summit County Communications later this month to begin the process of deciding the precise equipment to purchase. Ultimately, the Communications Center will make recommendations to the district on a system that will be compatible with existing infrastructure in the schools, he said.Myers said the district hopes to have the upgrades completed in a year to 18 months, and doesn’t want to rush into the project.”It’s something we do want to take our time on because we do want to make sure we get good equipment,” he said. “That’s another reason we’re getting the Communications Center involved.”The Secure Our Schools money is a matching grant, which means the district will contribute $122,875 over a 2-year period, Myers said.Minor said the Sheriff’s Office had been working on updating communications in local schools for some time, and the grant application wasn’t spurred by the September school shooting in Bailey. One student was killed at Platte Canyon High School in late September when a gunman entered the school and took six female students hostage, before killing himself and 16-year-old Emily Keyes.The Secure Our Schools program is one of eight grant programs administered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Secure Our Schools provides funding to law enforcement agencies to partner with the schools for the purchase of crime prevention equipment, staff and student training and other security improvements. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office was one of five entities in Colorado to receive a grant from the community-oriented policing division in 2006. The program gave out a total of $208,074,339 last year. Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-4629, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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