Governor Phil Murphy was in Paramus on Tuesday where he visited the East Brook Middle School to announce a $6.5 million investment in American Rescue Plan funds toward a statewide school security initiative to collect and digitize school building blueprints and make them available to first responders.
Accurate and uniform maps are critical to enable law enforcement personnel to swiftly respond to emergencies in unfamiliar environments.
Currently, New Jersey first responders have access to Collaborative Response Graphics (CRG) for approximately 1,500 of the state’s 3,000 public and private schools. The initiative unveiled by Governor Murphy today will help the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) and the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) map the remaining 1,500 schools in an effort to further safeguard New Jersey students and educators.
“With the epidemic of gun violence reaching every part of our communities, including our schools, we offer our families not empty promises, but concrete investments in tools and resources that will keep our students safe,” said Governor Murphy.
“Nothing is more important than the safety of our children and the educators who help our children achieve their full potential. In order to protect our children and educators, we must equip our first responders with the most up-to-date 21st-century technology so that they can respond to emergencies without unnecessary delay.”
“This new school security investment will ensure that law enforcement has immediately accessible digital blueprints of every school building in the state, God forbid there is an active shooter situation or other attack. This technology will help law enforcement act quickly and decisively,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer.
“And this new investment was made possible by the federal American Rescue Plan that Congress passed last year. It’s hard to think of a better use of these federal resources than to ensure we’re protecting our schools, educators, and children by giving our law enforcement the resources they need to keep them safe.”
“The New Jersey State Police has more than 100 schools in State Police patrolled areas where we have a consistent uniformed presence to ensure the safety of students and staff,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.
“Given the rise in school shootings around the country, it is paramount that, in addition to having among the strongest gun safety laws in the nation and bolstering mental health services, we also do all we can to protect our students through providing law enforcement and first responders with every available tool that could help save lives,” said Senator Joseph Lagana.
Today’s investment in the safety of New Jersey’s future generations comes from the set-aside fund and will enable the NJOHSP and NJSP to contract with an outside vendor to assist with mapping. Once the schematics for every school building are collected, local law enforcement personnel will conduct annual walkthroughs of each building to ensure the mapping data is accurate and up-to-date.