Posted on June 14, 2022
HARTFORD – State Rep. Bill Buckbee (R-New Milford) has spearheaded an initiative to use federal resource dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to create a grant program that would help Connecticut towns procure the necessary level of funding to hire additional school resource officers (SRO). Last week, Buckbee penned a letter to Gov. Lamont to formally request the matching grant program be established, which drew the support of his fellow House Republican colleagues.
“We have a historically large budget surplus right now and flexibility to apply ARPA dollars to areas that we feel will help move our state forward. In light of the most recent tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, and other incidences of violence in schools, it’s time that we take swift action and make much needed resources immediately available to protect places of learning,” said Buckbee.
The Town of New Milford is looking to hire 3 new armed security guards to keep students safe when they’re at school. According to Buckbee, his proposed grant program will allow municipalities to hire SROs who may not be able to afford it, due largely to local budget constraints.
“It’s important to consider that SROs wear many hats. They are obviously the first line of defense in an emergency, but they also serve as role models to the students they work with and are integral in addressing mental and behavioral health problems. Their presence also helps build repour among our most vulnerable members of the community, school children, and our New Milford Police Department,” said Buckbee.
If enacted, the grant program would provide a 1:1 ratio of dollars to municipalities that successfully apply for it. Municipalities that had previously struggled to find resources are likely to be incentivized to participate in the state grant program.
“Addressing gun violence in schools needs to be looked at holistically, but this is one piece of the puzzle that we can certainly figure out. I am hopeful that the Lamont administration and, given the opportunity, my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will support the establishment of a state-sponsored SRO grant program – a policy crafted to bring about greater stability and safety to Connecticut’s schools,” Buckbee concluded.
The governor has yet to issue a response to the letter, which can be reviewed in its entirety by clicking here. However, Buckbee and his co-signers will continue to advocate for measures that keep kids out of harms way.
To stay up to date on issues facing our state, visit RepBuckbee.com.