Tulsa Public Schools Says Grant Will Increase Safety
By Emory Bryan, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Tulsa Public Schools has received a grant of nearly a half a million dollars to provide students, teachers and staff with a safe learning and working environment.
The school district announced Thursday, the $437,740 Secure Our Schools grant will enhance the community policing strategies of the district's Campus Police Department.
The school district plans to add door locks and cameras at 18 elementary schools. The other schools already have them.
TPS also will hire two new staff members to help out campus police.
A total of 18 police officers and 19 security guards work out of the headquarters for Tulsa Public Schools Campus police. Soon they'll have two new co-workers and more security gear for elementary schools.
"It's creating jobs and it's creating a safe learning environment for our students," said Terri Grissom, grant coordinator for Tulsa Public Schools.
Grissom says this grant money will finish out a plan to add security cameras and electronic locks on the outside doors of elementary schools.
Tulsa Public Schools created its own police force this year - as part of a new effort to improve security.
In the past - contract security guards worked at the schools - and Tulsa Police had to be called anytime a sworn officer was needed.
With its own police force - and more money buying equipment for officers and the schools - TPS believes students will be safer.
Grissom says Tulsa Public Schools is applying for every grant they hear about under the stimulus plan, but this is the first stimulus grant the school system has received.
"There's a lot of money out there available right now through the stimulus package, but what it's also done is eliminated or alleviated regular grant programs that you usually have, so I'm not seeing a big influx of additional dollars, it's just a shifting of the dollars," said grant coordinator Terri Grissom.
In addition, school officials say it help further develop existing relationships between TPS and other law enforcement agencies in the region.
TPS says the district will utilize the grant in the following ways:
- Purchase and install building access security systems in 18 school sites, including doors that automatically lock, card reader access devices and live video feed systems
- Hire additional administrative staff for campus police including a communication specialist and administrative clerk
- Contract with a crisis management consultant to assist the district and community first responders in organizing and implementing a system of full-scale emergency exercises in collaboration with the district's Readiness and Emergency Management grant program
Tulsa Public Schools plans to improve security with money from the federal stimulus program.
Tulsa Public Schools won another grant for $499,000 that will pay for the district to develop emergency plans and conduct district wide disaster drills.