STATEHOUSE –Senate Bill (SB) 85, sponsored by State Representative Alan Morrison (R-Terre Haute), would allow the Secured School Safety Board (SSSB) to provide a matching grant to increase training opportunities for school resource officers (SROs).
“Working to better protect Hoosier students is not only a priority of mine as a state lawmaker but also as a parent with two kids in Indiana’s school system,” said Rep. Morrison. “We made strides last session to create a mechanism to help school corporations employ a school resource officer as well as update their safety equipment. Continuing that effort, I sponsored a bill that would provide a matching grant to increase training opportunities for these officers.”
Last session, Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 1 created a matching grant program to help school corporations hire SROs. As of Nov. last year, the SSSB has awarded $4.1 million in grant funds to 100 school corporations to hire SROs, working to increase school safety. These officers are responsible for providing protection against outside threats to the physical safety of students, prevent unauthorized access to school property and secure against violence and natural disasters.
SB 85 would allow the SSSB to provide a matching grant, with the same eligibility requirements as SEA 1, to increase training opportunities for SROs. While certain programs exist to train these officers, another function of SB 85 would allow the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board to approve different programs as SRO training which would then be eligible under the grant.
“Although unthinkable, if an active shooter situation does take place in Indiana, increasing training opportunities for our schools’ resource officers would better equip them to protect our students. Since we can always do more to better ensure the safety of our children, we need to continue to provide Indiana’s school corporations with the resources, tools and training necessary to do so,” said Rep. Morrison.
Another portion of SB 85 changes the requirements necessary to be a SRO. The bill would require SROs to be employed by a law enforcement agency, appointed as a police officer or special deputy or employed as a school corporation police officer.