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Staff photo by Doug Strickland / U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey.

Bradley County Schools got a portion of almost $1.4 million in federal funding for school safety measures in and around schools and school grounds. Bradley's school system was among three East Tennessee recipients, which also included the city of Knoxville and Monroe County schools.

Bradley schools got $442,000 for improvements.

The three awards announced Thursday can be used for coordination with law enforcement; training for local law enforcement officers to prevent student violence; metal detectors, locks, lighting, and other deterrent measures; technology for expedited notification of local law enforcement during an emergency; and other measures that provide a significant improvement in security, according to federal officials.

Bradley County Schools community and communications coordinator Brittany Cannon said Friday that the money will improve school, staff and student safety and communications.

"It's basically a safety grant to enhance different safety measures in our schools, some of that being intercom systems, gate systems, updated radios, but basically it will be safety equipment," Cannon said.

EAST TENNESSEE GRANT RECIPIENTS

Bradley County Schools: $442,436

City of Knoxville: $465,355

Monroe County Schools: $483,505

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

"The majority will go to our secondary school, but some of the funding will be spent at other schools, too," she said.

The grants were announced by U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey of the Eastern District of Tennessee. The trio of recipients divided $1,391,296 from the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services School Violence Prevention Program.

"As schools reopen for in-person and online, it is imperative we adjust to meet the unique needs and circumstances of our communities," Overbey said in a news release. "These funds will provide essential resources to help mitigate the impact of online learning and provide necessary protection in keeping all students safe.

"Additionally, these grant funds will help provide vital services to ensure a safe and productive school year for everyone," Overbey said.

"Although this school year may look different at the start, now is the ideal time to make preparations to enhance school safety for when all of our children are back in the classroom," program office director Phil Keith said in the release.

Nationally, the COPS Office School Violence Prevention Program awarded nearly $50 million in school safety funding. The program provides up to 75% funding for school safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools and school grounds.

Elsewhere in Tennessee, Rutherford County Schools also got a $225,001 grant from the program.

Contact Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.

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