|Tue, Oct 21, 2014 12:48 PM
|Issue of October 15, 2014
November 20, 2013 | 08:31 AM
The Harrison County Board of Commissioners Monday night heard a proposal for two school resource officers for the South Harrison Community School Corp. at a cost of just more than $43,000.
Dr. Neyland Clark, SHCSC superintendent, said the corporation applied for and received a $50,000 grant from the Indiana Dept. of Education through Homeland Security. With funding from the grant, the county, town of Corydon (police department) and riverboat funds from the school, Clark said the plan is to add three officers beginning in January for the entire school corporation. Two would be new county officers and the other would be a Corydon marshal. The total cost would be $215,400.
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The county officers would be full-time officers, but the school would only need them for 181 days out of the year and only during school hours, not for extracurricular activities such as sporting events.
"When they're not with us, they're with you," Clark said.
Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye also spoke in favor of the plan and said he'd never say no to helping secure the schools in the county.
The grant is renewable each year as long as the school applies and complies with the grant regulations, Clark said, but there's no guarantee it'll be funded.
Clark said a draft of a memorandum of understanding will be finalized and brought to the board of commissioners within 30 days. At that point, the board will need to vote on the issue and, if it passes, the county council will have to do the same.
Part of the funding on a yearly basis ($12,000 per year) will go toward a vehicle for the Corydon marshal, but Seelye said the county has enough pool vehicles to not have to purchase a vehicle for the two county officers.
"We have had officers in the buildings since late last spring and they have made a tremendous world of difference in our schools," Clark said.
Also, Clark said the officers see benefits from the relationship because "kids like to talk" and it could help the officers in other areas.
Commissioner Jim Klinstiver said it gives the students an opportunity to be friends with the officers.
"That's very astute of you to say that," Seelye said. "Some parents with their children see an officer and tell them, 'You better be good or he'll lock you up,' which gives the wrong impression."
Seelye said it's all about the officers being a part of the community.
"We tried to make it a good deal for you and a good deal for us," Clark said.
Commissioner Kenny Saulman said it will also be a good deal for the students.
As for the other two school corporations in the county, Lanesville does not have an officer on campus but does have the lock-down system and North Harrison uses the Indiana State Police Alliance, which the county uses for security at the courthouse.
Clark attended the Nov. 11 Corydon Town Council meeting to request help with funding the resource officers at the Corydon school campus.
Clark told the town council that the school corporation is prepared to purchase a police car that would belong to the town after a three-year period if the town could pledge use of off-duty officers during that timeframe.
The vehicle would cost $36,259.70, breaking down to $12,087 annually toward the cost of paying the officers.
The town council deferred action until members could review the contract.
The county commissioner's next meeting will be Monday, Dec. 2, at 8:30 a.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.
Staff writer Alan Stewart contributed information to this story.