Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, the Iowa Department of Public Safety and the Department of Education announced on Tuesday the formation of the Iowa Governor’s School Safety Bureau. It will focus on providing resources and expertise to assist Iowa’s 327 school districts and law enforcement partners to keep students, faculty and staff safe.
According to Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens, public safety officials have seen an interest and need from first responders and schools to provide consistent training for rapid response to school intruders, exposure to weapons, bullying and other threats. The new school safety bureau will include a full-time core set of instructors dedicated to providing school safety training throughout the state upon request for nearly 500,000 students, more than 35,000 faculty and staff members, and first responders.
The bureau also proposes the implementation of a statewide tip line that makes sharing concerns about troubling behavior easy, anonymous and monitored 24/7. It may include a traditional tip line, a web-based application and an intuitive app for smartphones.
Additionally, because almost every school safety threat contains a digital component, the bureau will include dedicated cyber experts who will assist local law enforcement in pursuing the digital leads necessary to stop concerning behaviors in schools.
Reynolds proposed spending $2 million to create the agency, reports the Des Moines Register. After the first year, the school safety bureau would cost approximately $1.5 million to operate per year.
In 2018, a law was passed that requires schools in Iowa to create security plans. The bureau is intended to build upon that law.