Ind. AG Greg Zoeller talks school safety in Clarksville - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ind. AG Greg Zoeller talks school safety in Clarksville

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CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Armed officers roaming the halls of your kids schools?

Indiana's Attorney General Greg Zoeller visited Clarksville today to make his case for why it should happen.

Clarksville Middle School recently hired a school resource officer, and now Zoeller wants that position to spread across the state.

Mike Popplewell stood through a mad dash to class at Clarksville Middle School Thursday morning.

"It's essential to have school resource officers for safety and guidance in some kids' life," he said.

The resource officer hasn't even been on the job a week -- but it's his position that brought in Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.

"The few points that I'll always focus on are the relationship between law enforcement, the school corporation and the students," said Zoeller.

Zoeller chose Clarksville as a backdrop to push Indiana Senate Bill One. The bill better funds the school resource officer position at the state level with grants and budget money to make it happen.

This district just split $78,000 with the town to fund Popplewell's position.

Zoeller says his proposal was already in the works before the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., and with new urgency, it's changing.

"Much more expanded to overall school safety, rather than just the school resource officer," said Zoeller.

School leaders throughout country took self-examinations after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, with many districts making changes.

Neighboring campuses in New Albany and Jeffersonville beefed up safety with better camera systems, background checks for visitors and new entryways.

"Most times, if I'm in the middle school, I have the security cameras of the high school on my computer right here," said Popplewell.

Popplewell guards the three Clarksville campuses at the same time.

"When the students and staff come into a building, they have to feel secure, otherwise the learning environment suffers," said Bill Wilson of Clarksville Community Schools.

And while Sandy Hook sits in the back of this officer's mind, he says it's not his focus.

"It won't happen on my watch. Not in this school," he said. "Catch them early and they develop a trust in a police officer."

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