By Ammie Ruddle
Pendleton County School system, along with 235 counties across the nation, received an award from the Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, COPS. Not only did PCS receive the award but they were selected with school systems in 25 counties that were awarded the full $500,000.
Additional COPS awards were given to school systems in Greenbrier and Hardy counties, along with the county of Upshur. Greenbrier County Board of Education also received $500,000.
According to J.P. Mowery, director of finance and BOE treasurer, the funds from the award will be used to upgrade security for the schools in the county.
Some items included in the upgrades are video surveillance equipment for Brandywine, North Fork and Franklin Elementary schools, in addition to the Pendleton County Bus Garage, control center equipment for district-wide emergency and mass communications, visual Console for all of the schools buildings and the Pendleton County Board of Education main offices, network upgrades and speakers for all of the schools, emergency call and panic supervised switches for all school buildings, digital displays messaging for all school buildings, paging horns for NFES and Pendleton County Middle/High School buildings, and cabling for all the schools, the bus garage and the board of education office.
Other items the funds will be used for are the Security System Electronic Access Control for all of the school buildings in the county, interior classroom door locks for every door in every school in the county, procurement contracts, including installation, programing, testing and training costs for all the county schools, plus the bus garage and BOE office.
The total estimate for the security upgrades and installments comes to approximately $670,000. The award will cover $500,000 leaving the BOE to match the remainder of the cost at roughly $170,000.
When applying for the COPS grant, the BOE members stated that the “purpose for the grant is to address the highest need for security improvement with security cameras that integrate with the sheriff, interior classroom door locking system, exterior door electronic access control and the integrated mass notification and emergency communication system that is interoperable with the emergency responders.”
Members of the school board included in the application for the grant that “our students, staff and community will benefit from these security improvements. Our schools will be schools will be secured and capable of immediate communication like never before.”
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