Most Indiana public schools apply to receive free handheld metal detectors

INDIANAPOLIS – More than half of Indiana public schools have signed up to receive handheld metal detectors free of charge after Gov. Eric Holcomb rolled out a new program earlier this month.

As of Tuesday, 173 of the 289 public school corporations have requested the devices, 222 entities in total which can include traditional public, charter and accredited non-public schools. Under the new program schools are eligible for one device for every 250 students.

“We at the very outset said we wanted to make this a local decision that we would make available at no cost to them,” Holcomb said.

The device is another tool to help protect students.

School leaders in Noblesville, for example, said they will use the wands on a case-by-case basis when reasonable suspicion exists. The program was launched weeks after police say a 13-year-old brought a gun inside Noblesville West Middle School and started shooting.

In Lebanon, Superintendent Robert Taylor said the wands won’t be used on every student, which he said is logistically impossible, saying they will be given to school resource officers within the schools.

“When there is reasonable suspicion, that maybe there’s an issue with something illegal, the metal detectors will allow officers or those responsible adults to be more thorough in their search and investigation of that,” he said.

The state is expected to put its first order in Thursday and have the handheld metal detectors available to schools for the start of the school year.