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Children spend most of their waking hours at school in the classroom and participating in school activities like sports or clubs. It’s important that schools have the ability to care for our children, including the mechanisms to report a variety of incidents that may require the assistance of first responders.
This is why as Chairman of the legislature’s General Bonding Subcommittee I worked with Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano and other members of the committee on legislation to fund security upgrades at all Connecticut public schools.
Under Senate Bill 12: An Act Authorizing And Adjusting Bonds Of The State For Capital Improvements And Other Purposes, the state will provide $5 million in bonding each year for the installation of communications equipment in each school. These multimedia interoperable communication systems will enable first responders to view live video feeds to better assess situations before arriving at schools. These systems would connect schools with multiple law enforcement, medical, and emergency rescue organizations to assist in a wide range of potential situations including medical issues, simple disturbances, or serious emergencies. This includes local, state, and even federal responders.
I believe this new communication equipment will be especially helpful for medical situations and, in the worst-case scenario, an act of violence. Responders will be able to assess the severity of the incident to react more quickly, as well as go directly to the location.
Under the legislation, the state’s Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection will seek proposals from vendors of this type of equipment. After determining the company and equipment that best will meet schools’ needs for the best price, installation of equipment will start in the state’s urban schools. Eventually, equipment will be installed in every public school in the state of Connecticut.
Parents, children, school personnel, and visitors should feel that our schools are safe spaces. I believe this important legislation will take significant steps to improve the safety of all Connecticut schools.
The bill next moves to the Senate for approval and must be approved by both chambers of the General Assembly before the end of the 2018 legislative session on May 9, 2018.
Senator McLachlan represents the communities of Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, and Sherman.