INDIANAPOLIS | Following the tragedy at Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six adults were killed in December, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has been talking to school districts across the state about school safety and the need for a school resource officer in every school building.
On Thursday, about 245 people, including law enforcement officers, educators, nonprofit workers, attorneys and representatives from all three branches of government, attended a seminar Thursday at the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre. The topics included school resource officer programs, juvenile justice, human trafficking and online crimes against children, as part of Zoeller's third annual Criminal and Civil Justice Summit.
Zoeller’s office conducted a needs-assessment study where Indiana educators and law enforcement indicated they would like to make more school resource officers available in their schools. But funding is an obstacle.
Zoeller was in Lake County last month to congratulate officials from the Tri-Town communities and Lake Central School Corp. for working together to assign a police officer as student resource officer at Lake Central High School next school year.
Last year, St. John Police Chief Fred Frego applied for and was granted a federal COPS grant. The $125,000 grant will pay for the first 18 months of salary for the St. John police officer selected as resource officer.
During the seminar, Zoeller reiterated his support for Senate Bill 1, now moving through the Legislature, which would define school resource officers in the law and provide state matching grants to help schools create or expand SRO positions through local control and decision-making.