Pharos-Tribune

State News

January 3, 2013

Bill seeks to put more police in state schools

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is backing legislation that could put more police officers in schools.

The legislation, filed by Republican state Sen. Pete Miller of Avon, would set aside $10 million in state funding that could be leveraged by local school corporations to hire trained law enforcement officers to act as “school resource officers.”

At a press conference Thursday, Zoeller and Miller said they began working on the bill before the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six school staff members dead.

That incident has escalated public concern about the safety of schools. “In light of the recent tragic events in Connecticut, we know school safety is a subject parents and the public are very concerned about,” Zoeller said.

Neither Miller nor Zoeller said the presence of a police officer in a school would prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in Indiana, though they suggested it could be a deterrent.

“It’s particularly important that these positions be expanded in light of the tragedy in Connecticut,” Zoeller said, adding that an argument could be made that not having a police presence makes a school a “softer” target for a gun attack.

Zoeller cited a needs assessment survey, conducted by his office last fall, that found that parents, teachers, school administrators and police supported the idea of putting more police officers in local schools, but worried about how to fund the extra expense.

Miller’s bill would set aside $10 million for the Indiana Safe School Fund and allow public schools to apply for matching grants to hire officers to work in schools. The amount of state dollars from the fund would be capped at $50,000 for each school corporation.

Miller acknowledged that the bill doesn’t provide enough money to put a police officer in every school in Indiana.

But he described his bill as an initial step toward making schools safer. “This proposal would be a good first step to meet an immediate need and expand resource officers into schools that don’t already have them, and still give the legislature and executive branch the opportunity to look at other more long-term comprehensive safety options,” Miller said.

Zoeller estimated that one-quarter to one-third of Indiana’s 1,000-plus schools currently have a police officer working as a “school resource officer.”

More than providing immediate security, those officers are also involved in devising school safety plans, enforcing school rules, and working with students and school staff to identify other problems, from bullying to illegal drug use.

Miller’s bill has already earned support from the incoming state Superintendent for Public Instruction, Glenda Ritz. The Democrat Ritz said in a statement that she believed the bill would help ensure safer schools.

It also has some support from the Indiana Association of Police Chiefs, an organization that is currently involved in setting training standards for police officers who work in the schools.

Mike Ward, the association’s executive director, said his members haven’t seen the final language of Miller’s bill, so are holding off endorsing it. But he said the concept of having the state help local schools and local police departments financially, so they can provide for safer schools, is a good one.

“Having a police officer (in school) can be a significant deterrent to violence and mayhem,” Ward said.

Few schools or local police departments have the extra resources to do that on their own, he said.

“If this bill helps offset the cost, that’s a good thing,” Ward said.

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at Maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • Arrest made in slaying of woman found in field GREENFIELD (AP) — An Indianapolis woman has been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a woman found dead last week along a central Indiana road. Twenty-seven-year-old Amanda Gonzalez was formally charged Monday with murder and assisting a cri

    July 29, 2014

  • Madison County voting records sought in US probe ANDERSON (AP) — A federal grand jury has subpoenaed Madison County voting records after absentee ballots cast in Anderson's 4th Ward determined the winners of several races. The subpoena issued by federal prosecutors seeks several records from the Ma

    July 29, 2014

  • Indiana U. commemorating WWI centennial in 2014-15 INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana University plans to spend the upcoming academic year exploring the lingering impact of World War I. "The Great War" began 100 years ago. Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar and former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton are joining a round-

    July 29, 2014

  • Coroner rules Lafayette toddler's death a homicide LAFAYETTE (AP) — A coroner has ruled as a homicide last week's death of a 14-month-old Lafayette girl who succumbed to a traumatic head injury. The Marion County Coroner's office reported Monday that the cause of Skylar Foster's death was blunt force

    July 29, 2014

  • Higher ed chief rolls out class load campaign INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's higher education commissioner wants college students to get the message that they should take at least 15 credit hours each semester if they expect to graduate on time. Commissioner Teresa Lubbers on Monday kicked off a

    July 29, 2014

  • 65,000 chickens die in rural Indiana fire WARSAW (AP) — Thousands of chickens have been killed in a fire on a northern Indiana farm. Approximately 65,000 chickens died in a fire that broke out at Egg Innovations early Monday morning. The Atwood Fire Department responded to the Warsaw busines

    July 28, 2014

  • Ebola American Doctor [Duplicate] [Duplicate] Mother: Doctor with Ebola sought to be missionary INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis woman whose son contracted Ebola while working in Liberia says family members are praying for his recovery. Dr. Kent Brantly is the medical director for the Ebola care center of the aid group Samaritan's Purse in t

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Accident at NE Indiana factory kills contractor GARRETT (AP) — A northeastern Indiana coroner says a Fort Wayne man died from a head injury he suffered when a scissor-lift toppled inside a factory as he was installing a safety feature on a crane. DeKalb County Coroner Jeff Warner says 54-year-old

    July 28, 2014

  • Former Indiana synagogue to get historical marker LIGONIER, Ind. (AP) — A northern Indiana museum that originally served as a synagogue for a thriving Jewish population will receive a state historical marker next month. The marker honoring the 125-year-old former temple will be unveiled Aug. 31 in t

    July 28, 2014

  • Evansville officials want more local fireworks say EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Evansville will ask lawmakers for more local authority to restrict private fireworks displays.The Evansville Courier & Press reports council members consulted the city attorney after receiving numerous complaints during the Ju

    July 28, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should grocery and convenience stores be allowed to sell cold beer?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.