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DOJ awards STOP grant to CCPD

By Staff | Oct 23, 2019

The Cape Coral Police Department has been awarded a grant designed to help prevent school violence, with an emphasis on mental health.

At a press conference this morning, Police Chief David Newlan announced that the department is one of a handful to receive the Department of Justice’s Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing School Violence, or STOP, grant for $123,151.

Newlan said he is especially proud, as Cape Coral is one of only three recipients of law enforcement in the nation, and thus far, the only one in Florida, to receive this particular grant. He went on to say that the Stop School Violence Act was designed with the intention of equipping school officials as well as students with the tools they need to recognize, respond to and, hopefully, prevent, school violence.

The results of receiving the award are two-fold.

The first objective this grant will achieve is to allow local school resource officers to receive certification after having gone through professional intensive threat-assessment training. They will be trained to assess any potential threat, which is crucial in the prevention of any underlying threat to safety. Newlan is sure this certification will ensure an unprecedented level of excellence in expertise needed to protect our schools.

The second benefit of this grant is that it will provide alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate (ALICE) training, as the school’s safety training of choice for the district. Cape Coral’s resource officers, as well as the school administrators throughout Lee County schools will attend and complete ALICE training and will then, in turn, provide ALICE training to all school personnel.

Superintendent Dr. Greg Adkins credits the caring and commitment of Newlan, City Manager John Szerlag and the City Council, as well as Mayor Joe Coviello, with the safety of Cape Coral schools.

“It’s clear that they wanted to make sure that the Cape Coral SRO unit was a program that was exemplary and could be replicated nationwide,” said Adkins. “Applying for and receiving this grant is just one of the many many examples we see of their commitment to student safety. This grant will help us to better recognize, prevent, and respond quickly to violence and mental health crisis’ in our schools. Over the past year we have put together threat assessment teams in every one of our schools in Lee County. These teams are made up of school administrators, counselors, psychologists, security specialists, and SROs that focus on threats and other forms of student conflict before they escalate into violent behavior. This grant will allow our Cape SROs to receive training they would not otherwise have had in making our teams much more effective.”

In closing, Adkins said he is truly honored to have the men and women of the Cape Coral Police Department partnering the school district with their ability and willingness to serve the students and community as mentors and role models against juvenile delinquency.

“Together, we provide a learning environment for our students; one that will be enhanced through this STOP training,” Adkins said.

Coviello said gaining this grant through the CCPD puts Cape Coral on the leading edge of providing another level of safety and service to the children in our schools. He believes the grant will be instrumental in preventing potential violence in the future.

“Seeing it before it happens, and minimizing those threats to keep our children safe is a big part of what this training is all about,” Coviello said.

The mayor maintains that Cape Coral is still very safe.

“We are considered one of the safest cities in the state,” he says. “Our first year officers will now be the highest paid in Lee County. We need to make sure that while we grow from a population standpoint, our internal structure is growing as wellour police department, our fire department. There are good things coming,” he said.