Polis Administration, Colorado Department of Public Safety Announces Office of School Safety


LAKEWOOD –  The Office of School Safety (OSS), created through bipartisan legislation and signed by Governor Polis, officially took effect on July 1, 2023 within the Department of Public Safety. Christine Harms was appointed director of the new office on July 15.  The Office of School Safety provides key resources, grants, and crisis response to support schools with preparedness and to ensure that students can learn and teachers can teach in safe environments.

“Improving school safety and making Colorado one of the ten safest states are our top priorities. The state is stepping up to partner with communities, I thank the dedicated staff at CDPS, Director Hilkey and our legislators for partnering with our administration on this important issue for students, parents and our state,” said Governor Polis.

“School safety efforts at the state level can be a bit siloed. One of the things that we want to really try to accomplish through the OSS is to have a more thorough and coordinated state response to school safety issues,” said Stan Hilkey, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety, which oversees the new office.

The OSS, as outlined in bipartisan Senate Bill 23-241 sponsored by Senators Jeff Bridges and Barbara Kirkmeyer and Representatives Shannon Bird and Rod Bockenfeld, oversees the Colorado School Safety Resource Center (CSSRC), a grants unit  and a crisis response unit.

The CSSRC continues to provide resources, training, consultation and technical assistance to any pre-K through higher education schools.  Margaret Ochoa has been named the new manager of the CSSRC.

The Grants Unit manages state school safety grants and assists schools in researching additional funding sources.  This unit now manages the School Access for Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program formerly administered by the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The unit is led by Charli Pringle-North.

The Crisis Response Unit trains school professionals in best practices for responding to critical incidents and provides short-term assistance to a school after a crisis.

For ongoing information about the OSS, please subscribe to the monthly E-Update or check the website:  oss.colorado.gov.

“When it comes to school safety, it was way past time for the state legislature to stop talking about it and start getting it done. The state has an obligation to give our schools and school resource officers the tools and training they need to keep our kids and teachers safe in their schools. The creation of this office is just the beginning of the legislature finally delivering real, tangible, and positive impacts on school safety,” added Senator Kirkmeyer.



Filed Under: AgricultureConsumer IssuesFeaturedMedia Release


About the Author: