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The Columbus Police Department has opened its internal search for experienced law-enforcement candidates to serve as the first student resource officers for the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp.
Police Chief Jason Maddix said he opened up the application process Tuesday, the day after the school board heard an outline of steps necessary to get the program in place by January.
Police would have offices at Columbus East and Columbus North high schools and be just a phone call away for other schools across the district, Maddix said.
He said the officers will spend most of their time building relationships with students by walking hallways and collaborating with school officials on fights and other disciplinary issues.
Indiana legislation signed into law in May dedicates as much as $50,000 per year for two years to each district, depending on size, to help put police officers in schools.
A shooting in Newton, Conn., that killed 20 elementary school students and six adults prompted the legislation in the Indiana General Assembly.
The Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. would receive $50,000 annually because it has more than 1,000 students.
A dollar-for-dollar match is required to secure the funds.
The Legislature approves a new budget every two years.
Maddix said at least five veteran police officers with the 79-member Columbus Police Department have expressed
interest in the student resource positions. He said those have included patrol officers, detectives and supervisors.
Only candidates within the department who have at least five years of experience will be considered, Maddix said. He said two new patrol officers would be hired to replace officers assigned to the school district and to guarantee that public safety is not affected.
Maddix said the resource officers would earn the same pay that they make currently. For an officer with five years of experience, that would equal about $47,000 a year.
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