Shepherd Snyder Published

Berkeley County Receives Federal Funds For School Safety


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is helping establish a “threat assessment and management task force” for schools in Berkeley County.

It’s part of the DHS’s Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Program, meant to prevent “domestic violent extremism” within small communities. DHS is providing more than $380,000 to the Berkeley County Council for the local program.

The money will fund a local network to watch for — and stop — targeted violence, like school shootings or other types of domestic terrorism. Three thousand public school employees will receive training on what to do in such emergencies. The county is one of a small handful of 43 local governments and organizations nationwide to get the funding.

“It’s more of a complement to existing training initiatives that we build upon, like the train-the-trainer style courses,” Berkeley County sheriff Nathan Harmon said. “So we’ll identify in educational systems who those trainers are, and then we’ll build upon what their expertise is.”

Harmon says it’s a way to prevent such incidents before they happen.

“As much as we would love to think that a terrorist act would not happen here, or an active shooter incident would not happen here, we’d be behind reality if we told ourselves that,” Harmon said.

Aside from educational sessions, the program will create unique emergency guidelines for each school in the county by the beginning of the next school year.