Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

August 21, 2013

Miami Co. considers forming safety committee

Committee would allow districts to receive safety grants.

By Carson Gerber Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — PERU — Miami County commissioners are considering an ordinance that would form a county-wide school safety committee made up of school and law enforcement officials.

Stanley Hall, director of finance and operations at Peru Community Schools, proposed the ordinance to commissioners Monday.

He said the state requires a county-wide safety committee in order for school districts to receive grant funding to hire armed officers or make safety upgrades to school buildings.

The committee would be made up of a school safety specialist from each district, a representative from every law enforcement agency in the county, a judge’s representative and an official from a county agency that works with juveniles.

Hall said a committee has existed for about six years, but commissioners must officially create the group in order to receive state grant funding.

The committee currently meets four times a year to discuss school safety procedures and policy, and Hall said the ordinance is only a state-required step to receive grant money.

Officials at all three school districts in Miami County said they plan to apply for a $50,000 Secured Schools Safety grant through the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

Peru hired five security officers this year to patrol its five school buildings. Hall said the officers will cost the district $128,000 annually.

He said the grant money wouldn’t pay for officers but would go towards installing panic buttons or cameras in school buildings.

Maconaquah School Corp. has also hired a deputy through the Miami County Sheriff’s Office to serve as a student security officer.

Superintendent Doug Arnold said they’re currently paying for the deputy through a $45,000 rural and low-income school grant.

North Miami Community Schools Superintendent Cathy Egolf said the district doesn’t have any armed officers. She said any grant funding awarded from the state would likely go towards safety upgrades to school buildings.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.