Richard Onofrio, Chief Technology Officer, Shooter Detection Systems explores how leveraging grants to drive gunshot detection system deployments increases profits for resellers and end-user security.
The wounds of the catastrophic shooting in Uvalde, Texas still cut deep, making it clear that many schools remain vulnerable today.
While federal, state and local dollars have flowed to improve preparedness, uptake severely lags among those districts often most in need.
Such funding requires specialized expertise in navigating restrictions – expertise now offered through SecureGrants.
This program from Shooter Detection Systems helps schools to address vulnerabilities by combining grant knowledge and grant writing experts with the technologies needed to create safer spaces.
The program monitors and assists with applications for federal, state and local grants.
SecureGrants is presently managing over $3 million worth of applications for organizations from cultural centers in California to private schools in New York.
The SecureGrants program is changing how schools and other organizations access funding for state-of-the-art security solutions.
While this program brings tremendous value to end users, what is often overlooked is how valuable this program also is for systems integrators and technology resellers in the security industry.
When budget constraints prevent schools and non-profits from upgrading vulnerable security infrastructure, safety vendors and their channel partners miss out on sales opportunities.
SecureGrants removes this roadblock.
By tapping into federal, state, local, non-profit and private grant programs, SecureGrants opens new avenues for technology purchases.
With this influx of funding, integrators gain access to projects that may not have been financially feasible otherwise.
Rural school districts, urban academies, large non-profit centers and others can suddenly afford comprehensive packages complete with gunshot detection, access control, video surveillance and, if needed, the infrastructure to implement these technologies.
For safety-focused technology dealers and integrators, several advantages arise from engaging with the SecureGrants program for their schools and clients:
Increased deal flow: by proactively monitoring the grants landscape, SecureGrants provides funding pathway visibility to thousands of prospective school and non-profit buyers.
Grant recipients must purchase technologies through SDS authorized resellers, giving SDS dealers priority bid opportunities and access to this exclusive prospect pool.
Bigger deals: when tapping expanded budgets through grants versus school districts’ typical constrained IT funds, projects can have significantly larger scopes.
This gives dealers opportunities for broader solution selling and end users with more robust security infrastructure and products to fit their security needs.
Loyalty by design: once systems are designed, installed and integrated by a dealer, schools are much less likely to change vendors during refresh cycles.
Service contracts also represent recurring revenue.
Enhanced reputation: positive word-of-mouth and public recognition of dealers involved in securing high-profile education and community grants builds valuable market awareness and credibility for future regional projects.
While gunshot detection can be successfully funded within grant programs, allowing for more general “security systems”, grant programs are starting to prioritize gunshot detection solutions as an approved purchase category.
Technology items specifically called out in grant guidelines catch reviewer attention, strengthening overall applications.
With many programs offering extra scoring for gunshot detectors, integrating even small-scale pilots pays dividends beyond cost savings.
The Partner Alliance for Safe Schools (PASS), an organization recognized as the authority in security solutions for schools, recommends a layered security approach and helps schools understand that there is no one-size-fits-all security solution for threats as pervasive as the active shooter.
PASS supports what security integrators already know which is that video surveillance, access control, gunshot detection, emergency communications, door locks, visitor management and more work hand-in-hand to harden all types of facilities.
School leaders often do not comprehend the sheer scope of grant monies available for critical safety upgrades.
At the federal level alone, pools are vast and yet underutilized. Since Columbine over 20 years ago, the US Department of Justice has steered over $300 million toward school physical security and violence prevention planning through COPS grants – yet applications continue trickling in.
Beyond COPS, Homeland Security branches operation multiple lesser-known conduits:
While federal funds offer a reliable wellspring, equally generous state, local and private grants often see even lower application rates despite schools meeting eligibility.
Technology-specific requests also multiply options, but determining which funding streams a school or other organization is eligible for requires daily immersion in the landscape.
This is where the experienced SecureGrants team and program shines – the proactive monitoring of the grants landscape, coupled with the expertise necessary to craft a competitive grant application.
As security systems and devices get smarter, infrastructure must advance over time to support them.
SecureGrants offers dealers opportunities to include the infrastructure upgrades required to leverage advanced technologies such as gunshot detection in their bids for funding.
By securing grant money to update infrastructure, dealers can holistically transform vulnerable schools into state-of-the-art smart buildings with security measures such as gunshot detection.
Consider a rural district lacking even basic connectivity required for modern video surveillance and access controls.
SecureGrants funding facilitates upgrading outdated electrical, IT backbone and wireless components.
With robust infrastructure now in place, dealers can seamlessly implement best-in-class security solutions, thoughtfully integrated for comprehensive protection.
Delivering this kind of societal impact will help build customer loyalty beyond transactions.
Districts will remember who helped elevate their facilities from vulnerability to security for a generation.
By facilitating infrastructure funding, integrators transform themselves from vendors into fully vested partners in the customer’s long-term success.
Both sides win with funding coverage, but the greatest success story is the students enjoying peace of mind in a more secure environment.
Active shooter and gun violence threats are real, but it’s possible to make communities safer and more secure every day by utilizing measures such as gunshot detection.
That’s the purpose guiding SecureGrants along with SDS technology working shoulder-to-shoulder with integrators nationwide.
This article on executive protection was originally published in the January edition of Security Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.