DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa will become the latest state to create an organization within state government designed to prevent school shootings under a plan announced Tuesday by Gov. Kim Reynolds.
Reynolds said she’s creating a Governor’s School Safety Bureau within the Iowa Department of Public Safety. It would cost $2 million to start and $1.5 million annually to operate, and Reynolds said she’s included needed funding in her legislative budget request.
“News headlines about school shootings and threats at unsuspecting communities across America are becoming all too common,” she said. “Although those headlines don’t often involve schools in Iowa, we can’t wait until they do to act.”
Full-time bureau instructors will train local law enforcement officers and school staff in identifying and responding quickly in a consistent way.
Reynolds’ plan calls for hiring two additional state agents with cyber training to identify and address early threats.
Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens said most school threats are made online through anonymous messaging systems or gaming platforms. The new agents will be trained to investigate, identify and act on such threats.
The plan also includes a 24-hour tip line, web-based application and app for smart phones to allow students to anonymously report tips.
Bayens said 13 other states have app-based anonymous reporting systems.