TRENTON – The pilot program that provides funding to improve security at churches, synagogues, mosques and other non-profit facilities would be made permanent, under terms of legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Cryan and Senator Nick Scutari, that was approved by a Senate committee.
Under the bill, S-1842, the “New Jersey Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program” would continue to provide grants of up to $10,000 for nonprofit organizations to hire security personnel to protect against threats and attacks, and awards of up to $50,000 to acquire target-hardening equipment.
“We have witnessed a disturbing increase in the number of incidents of hate and bigotry based on race, religion and ethnicity,” said Senator Cryan (D-Union), who previously served as Union County Sherriff. “The pilot program has helped protect houses of worship, community centers and other non-profit institutions that are most vulnerable. Making it permanent will help improve security that protects the facilities, their staffs and the people they serve in communities throughout New Jersey.”
“No individual, group or organization should be left vulnerable to any threats or acts of violence because of their race, religion or heritage,” said Senator Scutari (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Places of worship and any other locations that bring people together will be better protected with the support this program provides. We won’t allow bias or hate to intimidate anyone from practicing their religion or honoring their ethnic pride.”
The grants would be administered by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
The bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee on Monday.