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[ATG] AG: Strong demand for School Resource Officers again this year
Start Date: 6/5/2014Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 6/5/2014
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS – For the second year in a row, school corporations across Indiana have expressed strong demand for grant funding to create new school resource officer positions or continue existing ones. The State has renewed or approved 141 grant applications totaling more than $4 million to employ school resource officers in schools.  Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller who had originally proposed and recommended the SRO grant funding said that SROs add substantially to school safety and security.

“Parents should thank state legislators for setting aside millions of dollars in grant funding so schools can employ school resource officers who support the public health and safety of our students. School resource officers don’t just provide building security and investigate crime on school grounds; they also enhance the working relationship between schools and law enforcement and serve as good role models to young people.  I’m convinced the rapport SROs can build up with students can serve to prevent and deter crimes and bullying in our schools,” Zoeller said.  As chief legal officer for the state, Attorney General Zoeller works with his clients in law enforcement and education to promote school safety measures and programs that enhance student respect for public servants. 

The Secured School Safety Board of which Zoeller is a member recently voted to approve 141 grant applications from schools totaling more than $4 million to create or expand school resource officer programs. These include 122 grant applications that were fully funded totaling $3.8 million, another 10 applications that were partially funded and nine more that the board tentatively approved, pending the schools submitting additional information. The safety board also funded another $4.9 million in separate applications for school safety equipment and another $31,750 for school threat assessments. 

The three funding options were established under Senate Enrolled Act 1 of 2013, the grant program created by legislators that made available approximately $10 million last year and another $10 million this year to distribute to schools who apply.  Zoeller and State Senator Pete Miller, R-Avon, had proposed the legislation in January 2013 as a funding source to encourage broader implementation and use of school resource officers for school safety.  The 2013 Legislature passed SEA 1, Gov. Mike Pence signed it into law and the Secured School Safety Board, which is staffed by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, is distributing the grants for the second year.

School resource officers or SROs are trained law enforcement officers who have completed police academy training and receive an additional 40 hours of certification on working with students in schools.  Senate Enrolled Act 1 of 2013 legally defined school resource officers in Indiana Code and established formal requirements for their training. Last year, the first phase of the grant program established through SEA 1 funded a total 116 of the 128 grant applications for SROs from schools around the state.  This year saw a net increase of 15 new applicants; and many of the renewing applicants indicated they wanted to extend SRO programs they’d launched last year. Schools with enrollments of 1,000 students or more could apply for grants of up to $50,000 to employ school resource officers; schools with enrollments of fewer than 1,000 could apply for grants of up to $35,000. Grant funding can be used to cover initial training costs, and the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) offers a certified training program in Indiana.

The grant program has its roots in a needs assessment study the Attorney General’s Office conducted in November 2012 -- prior to the Newtown Connecticut school shooting tragedy – that found school administrators and law enforcement officers around Indiana were interested in creating or expanding school resource officer programs if additional funding were made available.  The legislation that Zoeller recommended was introduced by Sen. Pete Miller in January 2013 and passed by large margins in the 2013 Legislature. After the initial round of grant distributions last November, the second round of grant approvals to schools was announced by the safety board this week.

NOTE:  A complete list of recent grants approved by the Secured School Safety Board is attached.

More information about the Attorney General’s needs assessment study of November 2012 is at this link: Needs Assessment Study of School Resource Officers, executive summary

 

  -30-

Contact Information:
Name: Bryan Corbin
Phone: 317.233.3970
Email: Bryan.Corbin@atg.in.gov
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Attachments For This Entry:
    > June 2014 Secured School Safety Grant Awards Breakdown
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
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  • Government
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