Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller encourages school administrators to apply for new state grant funding that will help fund School Resource Officer positions to enhance school safety.
Earlier this year the Legislature passed a new state law Zoeller had proposed and recommended, Senate Enrolled Act 1, which makes available $20 million over two years in matching grant funding to schools to fund a variety of safety efforts. With the grant application process now open, Zoeller specifically recommends school leaders apply for matching funds to expand existing School Resource Officer positions or create new ones. He noted that School Resource Officers are trained law enforcement officers who receive an additional 40 hours of certification in working with students in schools.
“Public safety is the number one duty of government and we must attend to public safety first. I feel strongly that School Resource Officers are the most effective means of making the most schools safe for the most students given the funding available,” Zoeller said. The Attorney General spoke this morning at a seminar in Wheatfield, Ind., on the Secured School Safety Grant Program where school officials learned about the grant application process.
Last year, before the Newtown tragedy, Zoeller’s office conducted a needs assessment study which found that school administrators and law enforcement officers around the state would be interested in expanding School Resource Officer programs if additional funding were available. Senate Enrolled Act 1 as passed and signed into law provides a total $20 million in matching grant funds over two fiscal years.
The grant program is administered through the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and application materials are found at http://www.in.gov/dhs/securedschoolsafety.htm . The deadline for schools to submit proposals to DHS for the first round of grants is September 30, and Zoeller encourages school officials to coordinate with their local law enforcement agencies and apply. The first round of matching grants of up to $50,000 each is scheduled to be awarded in early November.
“Schools that already have good working relationships with their local law enforcement agencies have expressed interest in implementing School Resource Officers to facilitate a safe environment for student learning, so I urge them to pursue this grant opportunity and apply soon,” Zoeller said.
NOTE: The executive summary of the needs assessment study the Attorney General’s Office conducted last fall is attached. A schedule of upcoming DHS seminars for school officials considering applying for grants is at this link: http://www.in.gov/dhs/files/2013_Secured_School_Safety_Seminar_Flyer.pdf