Murray Announces Grants to Increase Safety in Washington State Schools

Sep 20 2001

$1.75 million to hire full-time police officers for Bonney Lake, Pierce County, Seattle Schools

(WASHINGTON, DC) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced $1,750,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). Part of the COPS in Schools program, this funding will help local police departments in Bonney Lake, Pierce County, and Seattle to hire full-time police officers to combat violence in our schools through community policing efforts. Funding under the COPS program will allow law enforcement agencies to help pay the salary and benefits of each officer over three years, up to a maximum of $125,000.

"Community policing has already helped us reduce crime in America," said Senator Murray. "Schools should be safe places to grow and learn. Placing more police officers in our schools will improve our students' safety."

Officers provided through the COPS in Schools program are known as School Resource Officers (SROs), and are sworn law enforcement officers who become permanently assigned to a school or school system. While the specific activities of SROs are determined by the unique needs of the school and the community they serve, their primary role is to safeguard students by providing a law enforcement presence on campus. Many SROs also teach crime prevention and substance abuse classes, serve as coaches, monitor and counsel troubled students, and ultimately build respect and understanding between law enforcement and students.

"There is nothing more important than the safety of our children," Murray said. "I'm proud that these federal funds will help put more police officers in our schools. The COPS program represents the best kind of partnership between the federal government and local law enforcement."

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services was established in 1994 as part of the Crime Bill, which Senator Murray strongly supported. The program's goal of putting 100,000 more police on the nation's streets has been exceeded.

The awards include:

  • $125,000 for the City of Bonney Lake to support one new officer
  • $375,000 for the Pierce County Sheriffs Department to support three new officers
  • $1,250,000 for the City of Seattle to support ten new officers