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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announces distribution of $68 million in grants to improve safety at 945 schools

'One thing we've heard from many of our schools is the need for updated physical security measures.'

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — Just a few days after giving his State of the State address, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine visited Lakewood High School Thursday morning to “promote his recently announced priorities and initiatives outlined in his budget proposal.”

That's where DeWine said another $68 million was being distributed to 945 schools across the state from the Ohio School Safety Grants program. 

That money can be used for safety improvements with equipment like cameras, loudspeakers, exterior lighting, electronic door locks, fences, window coverings, etc. According to Gov. DeWine, this $68 million comes from the $112 million allocated in House Bill 45. 

"One thing we've heard from many of our schools is the need for updated physical security measures," DeWine said Thursday. 

DeWine selected Lakewood to make this announcement as he revealed the district is among those receiving money in the amount of $1 million for safety improvements at all of their K-12 buildings.

Lakewood officials say the district plans to use the grant money to upgrade locks to many classroom doors, to install ballistic film on the high school cafeteria windows and to add a signal booster to their radio network to improve communication between safety resource officers and the Lakewood Police Department.

"This grant will be used to institute a collection of tools and best practices that we have researched and that will continue to harden our school buildings' physical defense," said Lakewood City Schools superintendent Maggie Niedzwiecki.

Lakewood police chief Kevin Kaucheck said any instance where it's possible to slow down perpetrators from getting into school and to students is valuable time for officers to respond. 

"Hopefully we never have to use any of this, but I think it's more for peace of mind," Chief Kaucheck said. "And also, if the worst case scenario would happen, with these things in place, it gives us more time to respond." 

A list of other schools receiving the money throughout the state was not immediately available.

You can watch DeWine's full announcement from Lakewood in the video below:

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Gov. DeWine said there's another $44 million remaining for more school safety grants to be issued in the near future.

“One thing we’ve heard from many of our schools is the need for updated physical security measures," Gov. DeWine said while making the announcement. "Everyone needs, obviously, to feel safe in the classroom. If doors don’t properly lock, emergency alert systems don’t work as they should, that’s something that cannot be ignored.”

Gov. DeWine's Thursday schedule also includes a stop at the Trumbull County Dispatch Center in Warren for a 1:15 p.m. event. This comes amid Gov. DeWine’s budget proposal request of $45.9 million for next generation 911. His office says this plan includes new infrastructure “that allows for the transmission of voice, photos, videos and text messages to the new modernized 911 network.”

You can watch Gov. DeWine's full State of the State address from earlier this week in the player below: 

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