The Thomas Nelson Police Department has been awarded a grant of nearly $7,000 from Virginia’s Criminal Department of Criminal Justice Servicesto aid in its COVID-19 prevention efforts.
Last week, Gov. Ralph Northam announced more than $6 million in federal funding from the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program was approved by the Executive Committee of the Criminal Justice Services Board of the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). The committee awarded 171 grants to localities, nonprofit organizations, and state agencies throughout Virginia, according to a news release.
As a program under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security Act, the grants assist criminal justice entities in their ongoing mitigation and response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic, the news release also stated.
“Our public safety professionals are the front lines of this pandemic, and we must ensure they have the resources they need to perform their duties and provide critical services to Virginians who need them most,” stated Northam in the news release. “These grants will help state and local agencies and community organizations across the Commonwealth function as effectively as possible as we continue battling this virus.”
Thomas Nelson will receive $6,941 to purchase containment and protection supplies for the College’s police and security force, which has more than 10 members, seven of whom are academy-trained sworn law enforcement officers.
"Safety is paramount so we take all measures to make sure everyone feels secure on our campuses. This grant is another resource that helps us effectively serve those who rely on us,” said Police Chief Kelvin Maxwell. “The funds will help purchase much-needed supplies for our officers and security team.”
The grant will cover bulk purchases of disinfectant wipes and spray, gloves, hospital-grade face masks and hand sanitizer, he noted.
Maxwell said since many higher education institutions must re-allocate state resources to address other urgent areas amid the pandemic, the grant funding is especially beneficial to Thomas Nelson given the significant savings.
“We are very appreciative of DCJS for approving and providing this grant,” Maxwell said.
The grant application stated in part:
“The department maintains patrol and security at all three of its locations, interacting continuously with the faculty, staff, students and visitors … the communicability and rapid spread of COVID-19 makes it vital that extra precautions are taken for the safety of the College’s police officers and people with whom they interact … safety for one’s own health and that of people with who we come in contact requires the use of face masks; continuous ‘wiping down’ of touched items such as phones, doorknobs, keyboards … taking precautions against the spread of COVID-19 not only has caused stress on what was once a routine way of socializing, but also has caused major economic challenges.”
Thomas Nelson’s police department operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Its sworn officers, who are state-certified and sworn in through the jurisdictional circuit court, are authorized to enforce all local, state and federal laws on campus and adjacent properties. Additionally, sworn officers have full authority to arrest and carry firearms.
Learn more about campus police at tncc.edu.