LIGONIER — West Noble School Corp. will now be safer than ever since a second school resource officer will be added to the roster.
The Ligonier City Council approved the addition of the 11th full-time officer to the Ligonier Police Department Monday night. This officer will be the SRO at the south campus where the elementary, middle and high schools are.
“It will be the same pay scale that we are giving the officer at the primary,” Public Safety Director and Police Chief Bryan Shearer said. “They will pay 50% of wage and benefits, so essentially, they will be getting two officers for the price of one.”
West Noble School Corp.’s cost of the two officers will be just shy of $80,000 for 2020 depending on budget increases, according to Shearer.
West Noble has applied for the school safety grant through the state each year since 2000. West Noble was the first school corporation in the county to be awarded this grant, according to Shearer. There have only been a few times that the school did not get the money, but Shearer said that is because the school did not apply those times. They were not denied the money.
At the council meeting, the council also amended the capital plan to include the purchase of a vehicle for this new officer. Shearer asked $37,000 at the Ligonier Board of Works meeting Wednesday for the new police vehicle. It will be purchased from John Jones Auto Group in Salem, Indiana.
Ligonier Mayor Patty Fisel thinks this is a great plan.
“This is a good deal,” Fisel said. “This is a great deal for the city all the way around.”
“The addition of the second SRO means that we will basically be taking over the SRO program at West Noble,” Shearer said.
The SRO position was posted Tuesday and the application process will close June 19. From June 19-June 26 people will be interviewed. Shearer hopes to bring a recommendation to hire at the June 26 Board of Works meeting. He wants the person to work for about a month before school starts.
Board member Tom Janes asked if the school is aware that this is a long-term commitment. Shearer said yes.
“I don’t know of a current school corporation in the state that has applied for this grant and was not awarded the money,” Shearer said. “It’s a $50,000 grant per year, and they have to match the other $50,000. So they have $100,000 a year to out toward the school resource officer program. Between wages and benefits, that’s going to take up about $80,000 of that $100,000.”
The left over money can be used toward anything school-safety related such as security cameras.
The board approved the purchase of the vehicle.
The board also:
• Approved the hiring of Brandon Chordas as a part-time Ligonier police officer.
• Approved the costs of purchasing of an asset management program. The startup cost for Water Superintendent Jeff Boyle and Wastewater Treatment Plant Faculty Manager Kenney Sprague to have the program is $1,500 each, totaling $3,000. The board also approved the $600 cost for the wastewater plant’s information technology employee to have the program.
• Heard from Ligonier Street Commissioner Mike Burdette that his department helped clear the trees that were down in Kenney Park. He said there were more than 40 trees that fell during the string of bad weather last week.
• Tabled a discussion about giving Tom Snow, regional manager of F.R. Communities that owns Eagle’s Nest in Ligonier, a credit on water bills so they can look at the information more before making a decision.