School safety office to be created 'immediately,' AG says

Gov. Walker signed bill creating office Monday

KAUKAUNA, Wis. - A new state office of school safety will be "established immediately," according to a release from Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel.  

The creation of the office was part of a school safety bill signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker on Monday morning at a Kaukauna elementary school.  The measure will provide $100 million to help districts make safety improvements and award those grants through a newly created office within the state Department of Justice. 

"The Department of Justice's Office of School Safety will be established immediately and staffed by existing agency personnel until a permanent director is hired," Schimel said in a statement Monday afternoon.  "I look forward to providing necessary training and resources to make our children safer and welcome these significant responsibilities because I know that DOJ is best suited to provide public safety leadership and expertise."

Schimel said until a formal grant application is finalized, he encourages schools to send an email to a newly created DOJ address explaining the project for the school, identifying the law enforcement agency that would review the project and estimating the amount of money the project would require. It's unclear how quickly the DOJ will be able to put a process in place to award the grants. 

The legislation comes at a time when young people have stood up, marched and urged politicians to take action to reduce gun violence following the recent shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida that took 17 lives.

Walker told reporters Monday that he felt it was important that the legislation did not solely focus on firearms. 

"Others have talked about specific threats but what we tried to do is address all threats," Walker said. "The threats that these grants would be in place to help prevent from would not only be about firearms. They'd be about explosives or any other weapon."

The bill Walker signed into law Monday was passed last week in a bipartisan vote in the state Assembly and Senate. 

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