Indiana Lawmakers Seek $10M for School Protection

Story by Brandon Smith

A legislative proposal in Indiana would help that state put more police officers in schools. Proponents say the legislation isn’t meant to be a response to last month’s Connecticut school shooting.

School resource officers are already present in somewhere between a quarter and a third of Hoosier schools.

Legislation Sen. Pete Miller (R-Avon) is proposing would provide a grant to school corporations – up to a $50,000 funding match – to add resource officers to their schools.

The bill would also require that all school resource officers have law enforcement certification and training to work in a school environment.  Miller calls the proposal a first step in addressing violence like the Newtown school shooting.

“No one is suggesting that this is the end-all, be-all to school security, that there will be others in the legislature, there will be…the governor-elect, I’m sure, would like to weigh in,” Miller said.

Miller said applying for the grants is voluntary.

“This is not a mandate for local school corporations,” Miller said. “This is something that we think is a good idea. We would encourage them to embrace it but we’re not forcing it upon anyone.”

Attorney General Greg Zoeller said while the Connecticut shooting spotlights school safety, resource officers play a larger role.

“This relationship in schools with a school resource officer can help develop a better relationship of respect for law enforcement,” Zoeller said.

Zoeller said school resource officers serve a multi-faceted role within the school.

“In addition to providing school safety and some discipline actions, it also assists in implementing the school’s safety plan, supporting the school safety specialist,” he said.

The proposal, while providing some funding to hire resource officers, would not mandate schools to participate.

Story source: Indiana Public Broadcasting