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Indiana attorney general backs police officers in schools

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana’s attorney general said every school district in the state should consider having a police presence.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller said Thursday he supports a bill in the General Assembly that would provide matching state grants to help schools create or expand school resource officer programs. He said these officers are placed in schools to do more than just “guard the door” and that they can become mentors for students and prevent problems before they occur.

"You can eliminate a lot of the problems with bullying, drugs and weapons,” he said at a news conference. “Some of the kids (resource officers) worked with could really help identify some of the problems. They were also able to learn about the problems the kids had with issues at home, and some of them had significant problems with mental health.”

School resource officers would be trained law enforcement personnel and should be armed, but that they’d also have a role in education and mentoring students at the schools, said Mo Canady, executive director of the National School Resource Officer Association.

Local districts would make the call about whether they’d staff their schools with law enforcement, Zoeller said, adding that every district should prioritize safety in their school buildings.

Posted 3/8/2013