The Vigo County Council voted to approve funding for placing officers in all Vigo County schools. School board members and parents gave the council a standing ovation after they unanimously passed the measure.
The school board approved partial funding for the program in February. The county provides an additional $105,000, and Prosecutor Gerald Modesitt's office contributed an additional $30,000 per year. VCSC Superintendent Daniel Tanoos recommended setting up the fund as a yearly grant.
Four Vigo County Schools hired off-duty police officers before the tragedy at Sandy Hook. Terre Haute Police Chief John Plasse and Sheriff Greg Ewing proposed placing officers in all of the 24 schools in January.
Members of the school board and the community commended businesses, residents and local leaders for their community spirit. Several people called the plan progressive. A similar proposal is backed by the National Rifle Association.
“The presence of a deputy puts me at ease,” said Sugar Creek parent Molly Meeks.
Tanoos compared the incident at Sandy Hook to the 9/11 attacks. “We never dreamed that our jobs would involve dealing with in-depth security issues,” he said. He expressed his hope that the county would never see a return on its investment.
“[This measure] allows the staff to focus on what they do best: teaching,” said Ewing.
Officers could be in place at all Vigo County Schools by March or April. The sheriff's department requires 10 cars for the program. Six more are needed. Local businesses donated 4 cars to the department.
Sheriff Ewing did not release the names of the businesses. Each vehicle donated to the program would receive a back border panel. The border panels will read, “Provided for school security by." The final words on the border panel would include the name of the business. He assured the council that he will do everything he can to get the extra automobiles.
“Sheriff, go forth and protect our children,” said Council member Tim Curley after the vote passed the council.