In 2018, Congress enacted the STOP School Violence Act, authorizing nearly $1 billion in grants for school safety and security improvements over the next decade. One-third of that funding has been allocated to security equipment and technology under the School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP). The Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA’s) section of the STOP School Violence Act states that schools can use SVPP funds to purchase and install cell signal amplifiers (repeaters) to improve the safety of their teachers and students.
How Does a Cell Signal Amplifier Increase Safety in Schools?
Cell signal amplifiers expedite communication with emergency responders. Two-way communications in classrooms is a common security recommendation that ensures teachers and students can call for help in emergency situations. A stronger cell connection also provides teachers and administrators the convenience of communicating with family, friends, and children’s parents.
A study sponsored by the National Institute of Justice revealed two of the most pressing issues in preventing and responding to school violence: 1) the integration of school safety policies, procedures, and training for school administrators and parents and 2) the enablement of two-way communication between teachers and emergency responders.
Strong cell coverage is essential to effective two-way communication. Teachers and students inside your school must be able to connect with emergency responders outside of the facility.
How Does a Cell Signal Amplifier Work?
A cell amplifier system (sometime known as a repeater) captures all the available cell signal outside the school, then brings it inside and disperses it throughout the school. This technology boosts signals for all cell carriers (AT&T, Verizon, etc.), all devices (iPhones, Android), and all networks (voice, data, text), thereby ensuring strong user connectivity is accessible to everyone inside the building. Installing a cell amplifier improves call quality and data reception, so that reliable communication can take place.
Challenges that can be solved with a cell signal amplifier system:
Your school is constructed of thick, signal-blocking concrete and brick, which prevents a cell signal from entering or leaving the building.
Weak or nonexistent cell signals in classrooms located in a basement or lower level.
Poor reception which makes it nearly impossible to communicate critical information via phone calls or texts messages from inside the school.
Installation of a cell signal amplifier can take as little as a few days to a few weeks depending on the size of your school and the coverage needed.
How Do I Determine My School’s Cell Signal Needs?
Illuminati Labs is happy to help you understand your school’s cell signal issues. We will to conduct a site survey using the latest technology to assess any weaknesses and then discuss all your possible solutions in a simple, easy to follow style – no confusing jargon or ‘techspeak.’ Our goal is to help you prioritize your school’s needs and design a customized solution that best satisfies your school’s exact coverage requirements.
Is My School Eligible for the Grant?
All states, units of local government, such as cities, counties, and townships; federally recognized Indian tribes; and public agencies, including police departments, sheriffs’ departments, and school districts are eligible to apply for the SVPP grants.
How Have Schools Used the Grant So Far?
In 2018, DOJ reviewed 202 SVPP grant applications from 44 states. Ninety-one grants, totaling nearly $25 million, were awarded to states, counties, cities, and Indian tribes, benefiting three million students in more than 5,000 schools. The most common elements of these projects were camera systems; security reinforcement with access controls, doors, and locks; and technology including panic alarms, radios, and cell signal repeater systems.
How Does My School Apply for the Grant?
The 2020 deadline has been extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic so you still have time.
It is strongly recommended that applicants register immediately on Grants.gov.
In addition, applicants are strongly encouraged to complete the SF-424 as quickly as possible.
Find the Quick Start Application Guide here
For more detailed information and all program documents, see the COPS/DOJ website here.