VIGO COUNTY, Ind (WTHI) - The Vigo County Sheriff's Department announced they're drafting a new proposal. This proposal addresses the safety issues in rural elementary and middle schools.
Vigo County Sheriff Greg Ewing is concerned about the security in rural schools.
He's drafting a proposal that would add three full-time deputies to place in county middle and elementary schools on a permanent basis.
"I don't have the staff to adequately place somebody there on a permanent basis," said Sheriff Ewing.
If funded, the deputies would be assigned to Otter Creek, Honey Creek and West Vigo middle school districts.
These officers would provide security to the middle schools and the seven feeder elementary schools.
The department had a similar program that lost its grant funding about two years ago. And currently, no funding exists to provide full-time officers to those county schools.
Sheriff Ewing believes the rural schools are more vulnerable than inner city schools.
This is due to how long response time could be to get to these schools in case of emergency.
"Response times are greatly extended in the event of a situation, just by the demographics, by the area, the layout of the land. By having a deputy stationed in that middle school and traveling to the elementary school, you would greatly reduce the amount of time it would take to get there," said Sheriff Ewing.
Sheriff Ewing said the only way to provide adequate safety to these schools is to put a full-time officer on duty there.
Vigo County School Superintendent Danny Tanoos said he's excited by this proposition.
"Hopefully, the council will approve this. And I know economic times are tough, but where do you want to place your money? And I can't think of a better place than protecting our children," said Superintendent Tanoos.
Sheriff Ewing said the response he received from the community after placing officers in schools this week, is what prompted him to consider a new proposal.
"And the response I got from the community and from the staff and from the parents of children at the school about how appreciative they were to see that deputy's presence really brought a level of comfort to these anxious times," said Sheriff Ewing.
Sheriff Ewing and his staff are presenting the proposal to the Vigo County Council in January.
We spoke to council member, Kathy Miller, who said they are equally concerned about keeping children safe, and they will make every effort to work with the Sheriff's Department for a feasible solution.
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