Congressman Knight discusses provisions for security measures in schools

Congressman Steve Knight answers questions at a town hall at the Rancho Santa Susana Community Center in Simi Valley on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Knight announced he was considering a run in the special election for the seat Katie Hill is expected to vacate shortly. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
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Provisions from two bills cosponsored by Congressman Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, were signed into law with Congress’ Omnibus Appropriations Bill on Friday. The bill signed by President Trump last week affects policy and discretionary funding for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Knight helped sponsor parts of the bill for the Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act, which authorizes a $75 million grant program for schools to improve security measures on campuses. Through the act, schools have the authority to identify individuals who show early signs associated with school violence and implement appropriate measures. The act also allows limited use of funds for metal detectors and alarm systems.

In conjunction with STOP, Rep. Knight also recently introduced H.R. 5307, known as the School Training, Equipment, and Protection (STEP) Act. This bill acts as a supplement to the STOP Act by providing schools targeted funds for protecting schools, such as surveillance programs.

Knight said there’s congressional funding available to allocate to the act, should it pass, to ensure local officers and teachers can prepare themselves in the event of an emergency.

“We want to make sure training is known throughout the community by law enforcement across the country,” Knight said.

The veteran of the Los Angeles County Police Department said after Columbine, his division at the LAPD was trained quickly to respond to school shooting situations. Knight believes all departments across the country must undergo the same sort of training now.

The congressman also mentioned barricade surveillance technology as a new solution named in the STEP Act. For example, older schools built mid-century still have glass on the doors, he said, but newer schools build doors out of metal or wood. Some even have locking devices at the teacher’s disposal or plate technology where students can hide behind a hidden door.

“School districts can also do things now, so you don’t have to wait for the federal government to pass a bill,” he said.

The Omnibus bill also includes provisions from the Fix NICS Act, which concerns accountability for reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The system that is required to purchase firearms from federally licensed sellers.

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