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Lake Central News

The Student News Site of Lake Central High School

Lake Central News

The Student News Site of Lake Central High School

Lake Central News

Attorney General Visits to Praise and Promote

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller addresses members of the press, law enforcement, school board and administration. Zoeller conducted a conference at Lake Central to promote Senate Bill 1 and praise LC for already taking steps to hire a Student Resource Officer.

Lake Central is not a popular site for press conferences, but on Thursday, Feb. 21, the Indiana Attorney General, Greg Zoeller, decided Lake Central was a prime spot for part of his state tour promoting Senate Bill 1.

If the bill passes through Indiana legislature, it will provide money for schools statewide to hire Student Resource Officers to have stationed in the buildings at all times.

“It’s a $50 million grant. The process is you have to apply for the grant. There are requirements to have local funding, so it’s not all state funding. It’ll come through the Department of Homeland Security,” Zoeller said.

After Lake Central announced that an SRO would be in place for the 2013-2014 school year, Zoeller chose to speak here not only to promote the bill, but also to praise local law enforcement and school officials for working together toward the common goal: school safety.

“I’ve identified places that are already moving in this direction because I like the idea that you don’t wait for state or federal government. These are local issues. I like to support local leadership,” Zoeller said.

Because of the swift actions of the St. John, Schererville and Dyer Police Departments, enough funding will be provided to have an SRO, regardless of the status of the bill.

“We applied for [another] federal grant that enabled us to get the process started. The three towns all got together and they agreed to share part of the cost,” St. John Police Chief Fred Frego said.

After a detailed selection process by Frego, Mr. Robin Tobias, Principal, and Dr. Larry Veracco, Superintendent, a veteran St. John police officer will be stationed at Lake Central.

“They’d build relationships with students, identify potential problems, get the problems solved, more or less stop the problems before they start,” Frego said.

Frego’s points, along with others, are what led to the administration and law enforcement’s agreement on an SRO.

“It’s important that we have somebody that is student-centered…and will also serve as a primary resource for safety,” Mr. Tobias said.

After our current 18-month grant concludes, the three towns will work together to discuss continued funding of an SRO, and if the Senate Bill 1 passes, LC will apply.

Although the bill was developed prior to the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown, Conn., Zoeller wants to ensure the safety of Indiana students at all times.

“[Senate Bill 1] is a grant process–it’s only for two years. I’m kind of focused on getting permanent funding after we’ve gone through these first years. I think once people see the benefits of a school resource officer, they’ll have more interest in having it as a permanent thing,” Zoeller said.

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