BUCKHANNON — The Upshur County Commission met at the Upshur County Courthouse Annex on Thursday, June 2 at 9 a.m. Bids were received for the COPS grant, for a transportation surveillance project for facilities and buses of Upshur County Schools.
The COPS (Community Oriented Policing Service) office provides a competitive award program known as the School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) that funds K-12 schools to improve their safety and security. The COPS office is associated with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).
According to raptortech.com, “The SVPP provides funds directly to units of local governments, including school districts, independent school districts, public boards of education and police departments. The program will provide up to 75% of funding for K-12 schools to implement school safety technology that helps with things like coordination with and expedited notification to law enforcement. Each award is three years, and each recipient can receive up to $500,000. Recipients are required to conduct a comprehensive school safety assessment during the grant award period for every school involved in the project. Award recipients are also required to contribute a local match of at least 25% towards the project.”
The idea of the COPS grant had already been mentioned this year at Upshur County Board of Education meetings and previously on the agenda with the Upshur County Commission. The issue at hand was that in order to receive the funding from the COPS grant, it has to go through a local government agency. With that said the Upshur County Board of Education and the Upshur County Commission have been working together to make this a reality for the Upshur County area.
As many are aware the recent school shootings including the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas have been disturbing and goals of this program will assist in overall school safety efforts. Raptortech.com elaborated on the additional goals of the program including, “One: information sharing between local law enforcement, first responders and schools; Two: crisis alert and notification times to law enforcement for better response times; and Three: identification of danger and emergencies.”
Additionally, raptortech.com noted the application process which is as follows, “First, schools need to complete the standard application form for federal assistance on the Grants.gov website by the deadline. The remaining components of the application are completed on the JustGrants system (justicegrants.usdoj.gov).”
The application includes a proposal, budget worksheet and other required documentation. Each applicant must also answer a series of questions, including but not limited to:
• How do you intend to use these funds?
• How will implementing this software impact your school safety program?
• What is your existing school safety infrastructure and rate of incidents?
• Why do you need these funds to address your school safety concerns?
Applications will first be scored according to the following weighting methodology:
• Program Impact: 25%
• Improved Security Need: 50%
• Federal Assistance Need: 25%
The COPS Office will also consider your location, presence of a crisis in your area and the demonstrated need for improved safety. Schools with high rates of violence, particularly gun violence and gun-related incidents on school grounds, receive priority consideration.
Applicants who move to the next round will be evaluated on their:
• School Safety Planning and Assessment efforts
• Funding Request and Integration
• Management and Implementation Plan Sustainability Plan
According to Upshur County Administrator Tabatha Perry, the Board of Education committee will review the project and an award of the contract is slated for Thursday, June 16. Perry also provided further information on the bids, which included one bid for the facilities project from Micrologic, Inc. for a total of $18,310.00. The bus project received two bids with IVS, Inc dba AngelTrax with a total of $ 67,835.92 and Surveillance 247, LLC with a total of $71,630.00. With these numbers in mind, the grant award would total $80,639.00, which is 75% of the total cost which leaves the 25% match at a total of $26,879.00.
Upshur County Safety and Emergency Preparedness Director Matthew Sisk was contacted to obtain further details and information but was unable to return comment before press time.
Additional items that were approved by the Upshur County Commission are as follows; Approval and signature of the Upshur County Flood Control Dam and Channel Operation, Maintenance Funding Agreement in the amount of $4,000. Annual contributions will be used to address the operation and maintenance of the Peck’s Run Watershed; Approval of revised “Requests for Bids” and Minimum Vehicle Specifications for one new half ton truck for the Lewis-Upshur Community Corrections Program. Sealed proposals must be received no later than 4 p.m. on June 29, 2022, at the Administrative Annex located at 91 West Main Street, Suite 101. Proposals received by the deadline will be publicly opened, reviewed and read aloud by the commission at 9:15 a.m. on Thursday, June 30, 2022; Correspondence from Jonathan Roby, Upshur County Fire Fighters Association President, requesting the appointment of Steve Linger to the Upshur County Fire Board as the fire service representative. Upon approval, his term will be effective immediately and expire June 30, 2023; Correspondence from Virgil D. Miller, Upshur County Sheriff, requesting the employment of Danny C. Sears as part-time Court Security Supervisor, effective June 6, 2022; and Correspondence from Kimbra L. Wachob, Assistant Director Upshur County Emergency Communications Center, requesting the employment of Sarah Davison as Telecommunicator, effective June 6, 2022.