Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

September 25, 2013

Vigo County touts school safety program

School officials talked to an Indiana Senate school safety committee Tuesday.

(Continued)

That’s partly because school shootings happen in a matter of minutes, he said.

“If they (shooters) know there’s someone there who can shoot back, they won’t go there,” Plasse said, noting that of dozens of schools that have experienced shootings since April 1999, none had an armed police officer in the building when the shooting began.

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett, Vigo County Council President Bill Thomas and County Councilman Tim Curley also showed their support for the school protection officer program.

“With an officer in every school, it really has put a good level of comfort in the schools and for the parents,” Bennett said of the community response. “We went from no security in the elementaries to an officer in each school. The money is a tough thing, but I know we really believe this is a great model to follow, and I hope you all will find the funding for other communities to do this.”

Bennett said that while implementing the plan initially put a strain on the city budget, it has now been built into future city budgets. He also noted that the program can be important from an economic development standpoint, as the community tries to attract new industry, and the safe schools are promoted as a community selling point.

Councilmen Thomas and Curley both said that as soon as Ewing brought together community leaders to discuss the school protection officer program last spring, they considered it as a community effort that needed to be put in place.

“It doesn’t matter about whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican,” said Curley, who is a retired police officer. “It’s a matter of doing what’s right for our children.”

Some security changes went into effect in Vigo County schools soon after the Sandy Hook massacre, Tanoos said.

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