State senator proposes more officers in schools
School safety has been in the national spotlight, especially after last month's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. Parents, school districts and now lawmakers are asking - "Is there more that can be done?"
Indiana State Senator Pete Miller (R-Avon) has proposed hiring more school resource officers to patrol schools in Indiana. Miller is proposing the state give school districts across the state money to do that and help keep your children safe.
Some schools already have armed school resource officers who patrol their schools. This proposal would give them the option to add more.
Under the proposal, the state would provide $10 million from the general fund.
"This is much more than putting another gun in the school," said Miller.
The state would provide up to $50,000 and expect the school district and county or town to match the amount to cover an officer's salary.
"We don't want to portray this as solving all of the school security and we don't want to create a false sense of security either. This is one step. This is a first step," said Miller.
The Northwest Hendricks County School Corporation tells Eyewitness News they plan to apply for the grant money if it becomes available. The district has never had a school resource officer.
"We have wanted one for some time, but it just wasn't a financial thing that we could do. We have limited funds as a small school system and there's other priorities of course," said Superintendent Rusty King.
Until now, local law enforcement officers have stopped in from time to time at the district's five school buildings.
"They try to do as much as they can, but it's limited," explained King.
Miller's proposal, should it go through, could change all that for the district and others across the state.
"It's not a lot of money, when you think of each school getting one, what they're going to give to each school, but I think its extremely helpful. I think it will make people feel more comfortable," said King.
Comfortable, at a time when comfort has been hard to come by, with parents across the country wondering, "Could it happen here, too? And what can be done to stop it?"
The proposal would provide the money to school districts for two years. After that, it would depend on how lawmakers felt about renewing it.