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Proposal seeking to increase campus safety nationwide goes to Senate
The Campus Safety Act championed by Virginia’s Sen. Mark Warner passed the U.S Judiciary Committee Tuesday, March 12, showing strong bipartisan support with a vote of 14-4.
Coming on the heels of the Sandy Hook massacre, this act would create an easy solution to increasing the safety of school campuses nationwide. The act outlines a plan to provide grants for higher education institutions to increase research and implementation of security measures, as well as to create a “National Center for Campus Public Safety” to share successful practices and strategies between schools.
“In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre and violence at campuses across the country, we should be able to take common sense steps to make sure we are providing the safest possible campus environment,” Warner said in a press release. “The Campus Safety Act creates a one-stop shop for quality research that will allow us to share best practices from around the country.”
The act will now move on to a full Senate vote sometime in April before it can be implemented, according to a press release by Sen. Warner. The act is part of a bill from Majority Leader Harry Reid addressing gun violence, which will also be brought to the floor in April.
The center of shared knowledge that this act would create is based on a crowd-source mentality that would encourage colleges and universities to share their best ideas for effective security measures with each other, according to Warner’s press release.
If the act passes with a majority vote in the Senate, then Liberty University could be directly affected.
Along with providing these security grants and a knowledge center for institutions of higher education, the Campus Safety Act will also renew authorization for the Secure Our Schools (SOS) program headed by the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).
Grant money comes from the already existing Byrne grant program at the Department of Justice, which “gets significant funding each year to assist state and local police,” according to Warner’s press secretary, Kevin Hall.
The SOS program conducts assessments of certain public schools and provides funding based on security needs. COPS works in conjunction with state, local and tribal government in order to organize the program.
Warner’s office is optimistic that the bill will pass, according to Hall.