STATEHOUSE – State Representative Alan Morrison (R-Terre Haute) sponsored legislation this session to enhance school safety. Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 85 was recently signed into law. The bill allows the Secured School Safety Board (SSSB) to provide a matching grant to increase training opportunities for school resource officers (SROs).
“Indiana is the only state in that nation that requires every school corporation to have a safety specialist,” said Rep. Morrison. “Despite being a frontrunner and model in school safety, there is always more we can do to better protect our students, faculty and staff. Continuing our efforts, I was proud to sponsor legislation this session to provide additional training opportunities for Indiana’s school resource officers. As a parent with two children in the school system, this new law is another step towards keeping those dearest to us safer in the classroom.”
During the 2013 legislation session, the Indiana General Assembly passed SEA 1 which 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. Under the law, 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.
Now signed into law, SEA 85 allows the SSSB to provide a matching grant, following the same eligibility requirements as SEA 1, to increase training opportunities for SROs. While certain programs exist to train these officers, another function of SEA 85 allows the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board to approve different programs as SRO training which would then be eligible under the grant.
“The purpose of training, conducting rehearsals or drills, is to better equip our public safety officials to respond and know how to think if a life-threatening situation does occur,” said Rep. Morrison. “When it comes to saving lives and making split-second decisions, seconds truly matter, so by increasing these training opportunities for our school resource officers, we are improving their ability to better protect Hoosier students.”
Another portion of SB 85 changes the requirements necessary to be a SRO. This legislation 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.