|Wed, Mar 12, 2014 12:47 AM
February 12, 2014 | 08:41 AM
The Harrison County Council Monday night unanimously voted to approve $86,000 out of riverboat gaming funds to pay for two school resource officers for South Harrison schools.
With the help of a $50,000 grant, South Harrison Community School Corp. will pay back the county for 70 percent of the total cost for the officers. The U.S. Dept. of Education school safety grant, which came about after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012, has to be applied for on a yearly basis.
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The total cost for the two officers — with insurance, retirement, etc. — will actually be about $129,000. But, since the officers won't start until March, the county expects the $86,000 to cover it for the remainder of the year.
One of the officers will cover the South Central campus in Elizabeth and the other will split time between Heth-Washington and New Middletown elementary schools.
The Town of Corydon agreed to provide an officer for the Corydon Central campus.
The benefit of having officers in the schools is greater than just securing the campuses, according to Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye and Corydon Chief Marshal Jim Kendall.
"They get involved with the education of the children," Kendall said.
The officer will handle issues at the school, and children are not afraid to come up to them and talk to them, he said.
"The relationship built with the kids is the key," Kendall said.
When school is not in session, the officers will be a part of the regular county force, Seelye said.
"We'll basically get a net gain of about 1/2 an officer," Seelye said of the time when school is not in session.
As for the other school districts in the county, North Harrison provides security through the Indiana State Police Alliance (the same security group the county hired for the courthouse) and Lanesville uses a lock-down system with no officer presence.
In other business Monday, the council unanimously voted to approve $250,000 for Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Dept. for a portion of the cost for a new pumper/tanker fire apparatus. The rest of the cost will be picked up by the Harrison Township trustee. The request, out of riverboat gaming funds, is a part of the county's fire chiefs association's five-year plan gentleman's agreement with the county council.
Council vice chair Phil Smith updated the board on the status of chairman Gary Davis, who missed the meeting while recovering from a fall at his home that fractured his femur. Smith said doctors advised Davis to continue what he's doing, which is taking it easy, and continue to rehabilitate the injury.
The council's next meeting will be Monday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in Corydon.