(October 21, 2019) - The Cape Coral Police Department is awarded the Department of Justice's Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing School Violence (STOP) grant.
The official title of the grant is the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, BJA STOP School Violence Prevention and Mental Health Training Program: Category 4-A suburban area or medium-sized county with a population of between 100,000 and 500,000. The Cape Coral Police Department is one of only three law enforcement agencies in the nation, and the only one in Florida to have been awarded this grant.
The horrific shooting at Marjorie Stoneman-Douglas High School permanently affected the landscape of schools and law enforcement in the State of Florida. This tragic event prompted lawmakers to adopt sweeping legislation that impacted mental health, gun rights, and school safety. As part of this legislation, school districts across the state were mandated to enhance school safety through partnerships with local law enforcement. The School District of Lee County and the Cape Coral Police Department met the challenge, creating a 25-person SRO Unit from the ground-up in approximately 60 days.
The mission from the inception of our program was clear- create a unit that would be the model for SRO programs nationwide. With that goal in mind, the Cape Coral Police Department created a new, modern policy governing the unit. This policy incorporates best-practices from agencies across the country and nationally recognized professional organizations like the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO). We then hand-picked officers from our ranks- volunteers with SWAT experience, US Military combat veterans, major-crimes investigations experience, even a former investigator with DCF. The qualifications standards for our SRO Unit is that of our SWAT team.
In keeping with that mission, our leadership team in our new Community Services Bureau wrote a proposal, and Grant Writer, Shannon Northorp, found the STOP grant and applied. With the funding provided from this federal grant, our SROs will all become ALICE instructors and can instruct this nationally recognized active shooter/active threat curriculum in our schools. Our SROs will also receive advanced training from the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP) and pursue the rigorous and prestigious designation of Certified Threat Manager (CTM). The goal is to become one of, if not the only, SRO units in the country in which all of their members are certified CTMs.
"I am grateful for the efforts of our leadership team for creating such an ambitious proposal and to Grant Writer, Shannon Northorp, for being so instrumental in the selection of our agency for this grant. I am also excited about the future of our School Resource Officer Unit here at CCPD and our tremendous partnership with the Lee County School District. We have what I believe is the finest group of men and women dedicated to keeping our schools a safe environment for students, teachers, and staff. They have truly bought into our vision of being the model SRO Unit for the nation." -Deputy Chief Anthony Sizemore.