Congressman and former Jacksonville sheriff John Rutherford (R-FL) said recent House approval of $50 million for a grant program to train students, teachers, school officials and local law enforcement on ways to identify and intervene when early signs of violence are present will pave the way forward following the recent Parkland, Florida tragedy.
“As a career police officer and sheriff for 12 years in my hometown of Jacksonville, I know first-hand the importance of communities working together with their law enforcement agencies to keep people safe," Rutherford said during a news conference on Capitol Hill. "This bill invests in early intervention and prevention programs in our local schools, so that our communities and law enforcement can be partners in preventing violent events from happening."
Rutherford joined several of his House colleagues to show their support of the Student, Teachers and Officers (STOP) School Violence Act recently passed in the House.
The legislation includes $50 million in annual funds for state and local schools to develop threat assessment teams, to create an anonymous reporting system for students and for training, and to provide technical assistance to help students, faculty and law enforcement to be able to identify signs of violence. The bill also provides for school security measures and creates a coordinated reporting system and school threat assessment procedures based on FBI and Secret Service protocols to prevent school shootings.
“As I used to tell my community in Northeast Florida when I was sheriff: I don’t want to be the best first responder to a mass casualty event," Rutherford said. "I want to stop these horrific events before they ever occur."