Brownstown discusses hiring second school resource officer


Brownstown Central Community School Corp. has budgeted $46,000 for a second school resource officer to serve its three buildings.

The town council has to find nearly $25,000 to fund the rest of the person’s salary. Plus, the officer will need a car to use, which could cost between $15,000 and $20,000.

Police Chief Tom Hanner said he has looked through his budget to see if there’s anywhere he can pull money from, but he hasn’t had any luck.

Council President Sally Lawson suggested setting up a meeting with him so town officials could look at the budget and see what’s possible. She said the cost to renovate a building to house the town hall and police department came in higher than expected.

“We just need to really look at everything that’s going to affect our budget for next year,” Lawson said. “I know it’s not a ton that we have to come up with (for the second school resource officer), but we’re going to have to figure out how to pull that from somewhere. If not, we may have to wait a year, but we’ll see what we can do.”

The school corporation already has set aside money but could allocate it elsewhere if the town doesn’t figure out a way to fund the rest.

“I don’t think we’re going to have a choice,” Councilman Gary Drake said.

The next school resource officer training is in September in Clark County. The four-day training costs $495 and has to be paid upfront, and Hanner said there are only 35 seats remaining. There’s another class at a later date at a different location with 47 seats left.

“The classes are getting filled up for SRO,” Hanner said. “I need to get somebody scheduled if we’re going to do it.”

The school corporation hopes to have the second school resource officer start Jan. 1. Samuel Hughes already went through the training and will serve at the start of the school year in August.

Hanner said another officer has expressed an interest in becoming a school resource officer. Assistant Police Chief Joe Kelly said that officer will have to go through an interview with the school superintendent to ensure he would be a good fit.

If the town is able to make the second school resource officer work, Hanner said he will have to hire someone as an officer.

“We did an interview last week for the eighth position for officer,” he said. “Applications were actually very slim for a lateral. We did interview someone who would be a lateral transfer.”

He then received permission from the council to make a conditional offer to that person.

The council also granted him permission to accept applications for an officer to help patrol the town when Hughes begins his duties at the schools.

“To not get behind like we have been, we would like to go ahead and start accepting applications, get them coming in, try to do another lateral,” Hanner said. “We have to definitely free Sam up full time at the school as soon as this year kicks off. We can’t drag it out.”

As far as the need for a police car, Kelly said he has been looking at used police cars and found one that already has lights and other necessary features.

Councilman Gregg Goshorn asked if it was possible for officers to share a car — while one is off duty, the other could use it. Kelly said that may not work because the off-duty officer could get called in to assist.

“We’ll try to come up with something,” Hanner said.