A grant from the U.S. Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) will support a partnership between the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office and the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES to enhance student safety at the two E2CCB campuses in Chautauqua County.
COPS, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Justice and is dedicated to advancing community policing nationwide, awarded a Secure Our Schools matching funds grant in the amount of $151,222 to the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office and the E2CC BOCES. The Secure Our Schools Program helps school districts and state and local governments purchase and develop safety resources to prevent school violence and make schools the safest places they can be.
The grant will help the E2CCB Technology Services Division buy security cameras, monitoring/archival equipment, and computer software to provide enhanced safety, security, and emergency planning at the Hewes Educational Center in Ashville and the LoGuidice Educational Center in Fredonia. The grant will also support emergency preparedness at each center.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Congressman Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, helped the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office and the E2CC BOCES secure the grant. The application was submitted by the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office with assistance from the new E2CCB Grant Procurement Service, which works toward securing funding through community partnerships and initiatives to benefit students in Western New York.
The E2CCB Technology Services Division undertook a pilot program during the 2009-10 school year with three security cameras installed at the LoGuidice Educational Center in Fredonia. The cameras were set up in high-traffic areas around campus with access limited to the building principal and school resource officer. There are currently a handful of cameras installed at each of the E2CCB campuses in Chautauqua and Erie County. The video feed as well as archives can be accessed via the secure E2CCB network.
Not only will the COPS grant help the E2CC BOCES expand this network, but it will also allow the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office to access the video feed in the event of an emergency. It is the first time the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office has had this ability outside of the county office and court complex in Mayville, and it could be used as a model for future projects.
"We are going to have the ability under certain circumstances to monitor what's going on right from our dispatch center. We wouldn't ever monitor everyday activities, but in the event of a major incident, there is a switch that could be flipped so we can actually see what's happening remotely," said Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph Gerace.
According to Sheriff Gerace, this is just one of many partnerships between the E2CC BOCES and the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office everything from educational programs for inmates at the Chautauqua County Jail and post-release programs to school resource officers and sheriff's substations at both the LoGuidice and Hewes campuses.
"It's another way to make our schools safer and it also provides an opportunity to continue the partnerships we have had with BOCES for many years, so we are pleased to be able to be involved in this project," Sheriff Gerace said.
There is an educational component to the grant as well. The Criminal Justice programs at both centers, which prepare students for careers in security and law enforcement/corrections, will be able to use the equipment for training purposes without compromising network security.