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Connecticut adds $16 million to boost school security after Newtown

Street artist Mark Panzarino, 41, prepares a memorial as he writes the names of the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims during the six-mont
Street artist Mark Panzarino, 41, prepares a memorial as he writes the names of the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims during the six-mont

By Rich Weizel

FARMINGTON, Connecticut (Reuters) - Connecticut on Tuesday released an additional $16 million in state funding toward boosting security at school buildings, nearly a year after a gunman massacred 26 people at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

The funding follows an initial release of $5 million in September to pay for additions including bulletproof glass, panic alarms, surveillance cameras and other technology. Most of the initial funds were meant for Hartford, the state capital city and Bridgeport, its largest city.

"This allows us to continue to get resources out to the cities and towns that have begun work to modernize their security infrastructure and ramp up safety procedures at school buildings in the wake of the horrific events on December 14th," Governor Dannel Malloy at a gathering in the town of Farmington focused on school security.

"We must do everything possible to ensure that our students and teachers are safe," he added.

Malloy said the new funds, some generated through issuing state bonds, would be made available to 435 schools in 75 school districts, bringing the total number of schools with state security funding to 604 schools in 111 districts.

The leafy suburb of Newtown was shaken on December 14, 2012, when a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and opened fire, killing 20 young children and six faculty and staff before turning his gun on himself.

The mass killing prompted Connecticut, as well as neighboring New York and nearby New Jersey, to pass laws tightening their already restrictive rules on gun ownership. An attempt to pass stiffer federal laws died in Congress, with gun-rights advocates saying tighter restrictions would penalize law-abiding gun owners while doing little to deter crime.

After the funding announcement, Malloy told reporters he was frustrated that state police officials had not yet released their report on the shooting, seen by some in the community as an important step toward closure.

"I am deeply frustrated that the report has not yet been finished, and can only hope that it is released later this week or by next week at the latest," Malloy said. "But they (the state police) don't work for me on this. If they did, this report would have been issued long ago. This is a discussion and situation that must come to an end."

The United States experienced another mass shooting in September, when a gunman at the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard killed a dozen workers having breakfast before police shot him dead.

(Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by David Gregorio)

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