BENTON COUNTY, Wash. – The Benton County Sheriff’s Office hopes to deter school violence with the help of a Department of Justice grant.
$250,000 will be used over the next three years to provide training to school administrators and staff members about school violence prevention.
“If we’re going to help solve these problems, we have to look at it in a 360-degree view and try to incorporate as many means to stop it or prevent it as we can,” said Lt. Erik Magnuson.
Some training will include 3-D technology. Magnuson said they’ll use a camera to map out the school and stadiums where violence can happen. They’ll use that data to train staff members about where the violence can occur and to make a peer-reviewed school safety plan.
“We have had other incidents happen in the county in the past, and we were fortunate enough that they were reported ahead of time before the violence happened,” Magnuson said. “But our hope is that things don’t fall between the cracks, and we come up with a way that students or other members of the public that might be aware of future violence are able to report it before it happens.”
Magnuson said they’ll also be reaching out to students in the training.
“A large portion of that we’ll be using to contract with mental health professionals that can help do some of the education pieces for this,” he explained.
Those trained will be able to determine when something is having a mental health crisis. Another idea on their radar is to establish a tip line for possible violence or suicides.
Magnuson said they’ll most likely start the program in a high school before making their way to other locations.