Steuerwald’s legislation to help keep schools safe could soon be law

Posted by: Courtney Heiden  | Wednesday, March 27, 2019

STATEHOUSE (March 27, 2019) – State Rep. Greg Steuerwald’s (R-Avon) proposal providing schools and local sheriff’s departments another tool to protect students could soon be law.

After passing out of the House of Representatives and the Senate unanimously, House Enrolled Act 1225 is now headed to the governor for his consideration. The proposal opens up funding through the Indiana Secured School Safety Grant Program for schools to implement app-based active event response systems.

“When an emergency arises, these apps are activated using a smartphone, which alerts 911 and all on-duty and off-duty police officers in the area so they can act swiftly,” Steuerwald said. “The response time by law enforcement is key to saving lives in active shooter and other emergency situations, and this is another tool our schools could use to help keep everyone safe.”

According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, active shootings can result in a number of casualties in a short period of time, generally before officers or other emergency responders can even be summoned. In spite of this logistical disadvantage, it has been recognized that even one or two armed officers on the scene can make a difference in the outcome of active shootings by taking swift, but calculated, individual or coordinated action.

“This technology, which is already being implemented by some school districts, enables school staff to tap a button and instantly alert first responders,” Steuerwald said. “Important information is also immediately passed along so that law enforcement can arrive as quickly as possible and take over.”

Steuerwald said schools and local sheriff’s departments would work together to apply for funding for active event response systems through the Indiana Secured School Safety Grant Program. Established in 2013, the program supports initiatives to help schools address potential safety threats. To date, the program has delivered more than $53 million in matching grants to school districts across the state.

“Indiana is a national leader in school safety efforts,” Steuerwald said. “I look forward to this policy becoming law as state officials continue working with local public safety officers and school leaders to protect our students.” 

For more information on HEA 1225, visit iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon) represents House District 40, which includes a portion of Hendricks County.

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