School administrators across Hendricks County are watching and waiting to see what will happen with proposed legislation that will help fund more school resource officers.
State Sen. Pete Miller of Avon filed the measure that would set aside $10 million in state funding for school corporations to hire trained law enforcement officers. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Miller began working on the bill some time ago. The Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six adults were killed, has recently increased public concern about student safety.
The 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.
Schools in Hendricks County vary on how much of a police presence they have. They range from having no paid officers on staff to those with multiple full-time school resource officers.
Richard “Rusty” King, superintendent of the North West Hendricks Community School Corporation, said his schools rely on help from the local police departments.
“We don’t have anybody actually employed by the school corporation,” King said. “But our local police are very supportive. We have officers, especially from Pittsboro, come in and talk to our kids and make their presence known.”
He said the police departments in the northwest corner of the county are very small.
“The town marshal at North Salem tries to come in when possible,” King said. “And the officer from Lizton is part-time. However, the county sheriff’s department has been very good and will come into the middle and high school for events, when they can.”
He said if there were funds available through this legislation, the corporation would be very interested in applying.