Full-time resource officers to be added to elementary, middle schools in Zionsville

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. – This fall, students in Zionsville will be greeted by new full-time school resource officers at every campus in the district, including elementary and middle schools.

The Zionsville Town Council passed an appropriation of $277,000 at a meeting Monday morning which will pay for nearly three officers. The Town of Whitestown and Zionsville Schools will also help foot the bill, allowing the district to add six officers in addition to two it already employs.

Zionsville police and the Boone County sheriff will both hire the officers, which cost around $100,000 to hire, equip, and train.

Mayor Tim Haak told FOX59 the town and district have been talking about additional officers for about a year, and the shooting at a Noblesville middle school simply heightened the desire to implement the idea.

"Certainly most every community is going to be having this conversation, and it's a good conversation," Haak said.

The money for the officers comes in part from a public safety tax, as well as police department operating budgets. Town Council President Josh Garrett said the council passed the measure unanimously and agreed it was an important step to securing schools from attacks.

"Over the last six to 12 months, there’s been more and more of these types of situations happening and getting in front of it was something that was important to ... the Mayor, the schools, as well as the council," Garrett said.

Indiana does not track the total number of school resource officers statewide, but according to the Indiana Association of School Resource Officers, there are at least 350 of them and that number has steadily grown in recent years.

Parent Lindsay Swift welcomed the news, since she just moved into the district and two of her children will attend an elementary school next school year.

"Now you have to think about it whereas before, in the past, you didn't think about it. ... It's scary, but it's the reality we're living in now," Swift said.

Zionsville leaders hoped to hire the officers soon so that they could start in the fall. Any existing officers who move into resource officer positions will be replaced, so that department staffing levels remain the same.