Seymour adds fourth school resource officer


Seymour Community School Corp. is beefing up its security by adding a fourth school resource officer.

Trustees approved the contract with the Seymour Police Department during a special meeting Tuesday night.

The school system will spend $235,000 to pay officers’ salaries this school year. A portion of that, $70,000, comes from federal and state school safety grants.

School board member Jeff Joray was the only one to vote against adding another officer. He said he would rather see the corporation look at other options to increase security that don’t cost as much as hiring police officers.

He supports allowing trained staff to carry firearms during the school day or hiring private security guards to cut expenses.

“We need security in all our schools, so why don’t we have a resource officer in every school? It’s because we can’t afford it,” Joray said Thursday. “That’s why we should look at other options that won’t cost $60,000 to $70,000 a year.”

Joray said there are certified staff at the schools who would be willing to go through firearms training.

“I’m sure that there are staff that have grown up with guns being part of their life and are already well-trained,” he said. “We could hire retired military people or retired police for a lot less money and secure all schools.”

Currently, the district has three school resource officers — Officer Keith Williams, who is stationed at Seymour High School, Officer Craig Owens at Seymour Middle School and Officer Jack Hauer, who is responsible for all five elementary schools. Hauer is retired from the police department but is an active reserve and only works part time.

Police Chief Bill Abbott said Thursday he doesn’t know who the fourth officer will be yet. School starts Aug. 9.

The corporation conducted a survey of teachers and staff last spring to determine what additional steps they would prefer the district take to increase school safety.

The results showed employees would rather the district hire additional school resource officers, but many agreed allowing certain teachers and staff who are trained to carry guns would make schools safer overall.

School officials also will have the ability to use handheld metal detectors this year.

Last month, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the state would purchase the devices so schools can have one metal detector wand for every 250 students enrolled this fall.

Assistant Superintendent Brandon Harpe said Seymour will receive 18 metal detectors and will distribute them to the schools once a policy is created on their use and training.

“Like other school districts we have spoken to, we will work with our staff, board and local emergency personnel to come up with what works best for SCSC,” Harpe said.

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