Briefing on DOJ Programs to Improve School and Community Safety

On Friday, September 2, the National Governors Association Bipartisan Working Group on School and Community Safety hosted the second of a three-part briefing series on the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA): DOJ Programs to Improve School and Community Safety”

In June, Congress passed, and the President signed into law, the BSCA, one of the most significant steps Congress has taken to reduce gun violence in decades through expanded public safety programs. BSCA also appropriates funds for federal activities and more than $4.5 billion for state grant programs. NGA was joined by representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice to discuss in more detail the allowable use of these funds and next steps.

This bipartisan Governors’ working group chaired by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, along with six other governors, was formed in June of this year, after the Uvalde school shooting in Texas. This working group has met several times and the goal is for these bipartisan governors to come together and identify solutions that gives state and local leaders tools to promote effective measures in their respective communities.

Representatives from the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office provided an overview of the $1.4 billion made available in the BSCA for school and community safety programs. During the briefing, states and territories learned they can anticipate new solicitations this fall for the newly established Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program. Furthermore, the additionally funding from BSCA has allowed DOJ to already this year nearly doubled the amount of grant awardees for school violence and safety programs.