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Task force charged with strengthening school security statewide

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N.H. Gov. Chris Sununu (Courtesy photo)

CONCORD - Governor Chris Sununu, New Hampshire Director of Homeland Security Perry Plummer, and Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut announced on Monday that the members of the Governor's new School Safety Preparedness Taskforce will work together in the coming months to develop stronger safety protocols for New Hampshire's schools.

They will conduct a comprehensive effort over the next 60-90 days to evaluate and recommend to the Governor actionable steps that can be taken to ensure New Hampshire has the safest schools in the nation. This will be accomplished through robust working groups that will include additional members of the public and experts.

According to a press release issued on Monday, the first meeting of the taskforce will take place on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in the Executive Council Chambers. The meeting is closed to the press. Governor Sununu will provide taskforce members a list of recommended proposals to research and determine how best to implement.

Governor's School Safety Preparedness Taskforce members are:

Perry Plummer, Director, New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management (Chairman)

Christine Brennan, Deputy Commissioner, New Hampshire Department of Education

John Broderick, Former New Hampshire Supreme Court Justice and Co-Chair of Change Direction NH

Matthew Canfield, Chief, Laconia Police Department

Michael Carney, School Board Member, Salem

Allan Clark, Chief, Sugar Hill Fire Department

Paul Dean, Chief, University of New Hampshire Police Department

Laura DeRosa Ed.D, Teacher, Hollis Brookline Middle School

Tiffany Eddy, Parent from Dunbarton

Michael Gagnon, Chief, Derry Fire Department

Laurie Melanson, Superintendent, SAU 23 North Haverhill

Ken Norton, Executive Director, NAMI New Hampshire

Richard Sawyer, Chief, Hampton Police Department

Chris Wagner, Colonel, New Hampshire State Police

In addition to the members listed above, two students will join the group. Additionally, there will be four specialized working groups that will work to address specific topics within school safety preparedness. The four working groups will be led by facilitators, and additional members of the public will be selected to serve within the groups.

School Stakeholder Working Group - Facilitator: Caitlyn Davis, Department of Education

Mental Health Working Group - Facilitator: Jennifer Schirmer, New Hampshire Disaster Behavioral Health Coordinator

Technology & Innovative Security Working Group - Facilitator: Jennifer Harper, HSEM Deputy Director

Emergency Response Working Group - Facilitator: Perry Plummer, HSEM Director

These efforts will run alongside the new Public School Infrastructure Fund, which is investing nearly $20 million in state funds directly to communities by making long overdue infrastructure and security upgrades. Some $16 million has already been allocated to schools from across the state for critical security improvements, including reinforced windows and doors, state-of-the-art exterior door locking systems, and early detection systems.

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