Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller stopped by Washington High School Thursday afternoon to discuss a $50,000 grant awarded to the Washington Community Schools Corporation to employ a school resource officer or SRO.
Superintendent Dr. Daniel Roach said that the search for a SRO has already begun and it is his hope that by the start of the second semester in January, a SRO would be place. SROs are trained law enforcement officers who have been through the police academy and then take an additional 40 hours of certification in working with students at schools.
"Public safety is the number one duty of government, whether it's responding to natural disasters such as the recent tornado or protecting our school children from crime and violence," said Zoeller. "Schools throughout Indiana have shown strong interest in creating or expanding SRO programs, which underscores the findings of a needs assessment study my office conducted last November that found pent-up demand for SROs among school administrators and parents.
It is Zoeller's hope that SROs will not only deter many of the problems schools face today but also can improve student respect for officers of the law and public safety.
Zoeller is a member of the Secured School Safety Board and voted Oct. 23 to approve and fund grant applications from 116 Indiana schools to create or expand the SRO programs. The board also funded nearly 200 applications for safety equipment and 18 applications for threat assessment.
"The Washington Community Schools view this an an opportunity to provide another positive resource for our educational community," said Roach. "While we believe that the presence of SROs will aloow another layer of safety for students, we also view this as a chance for students throughout the district to interact with another concerned adult. I believe the collaborative approach of the city and schools demonstrates a genuine desire to advance the needs of the Washington community."