Schools

South secures resource officer for another year

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NEW ROSS — A $50,000 matching grant from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security was recently awarded to help fund a resource officer for all Southmont schools for another year.

Walnut Elementary Principal Eric Brewer helped secure the funds.

Brewer said Deputy Jennifer Watson with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, who has served in the role for a number of years, will continue as the school resource offider. She is a Montgomery County native who also happens to be a parent in the South district.

“She is very valuable to us,” Brewer said. “I don’t know what we would do if we didn’t have her.”

Watson monitors security cameras, buildings and
parking lots at each Southmont school, and is on call around the clock. Watson utilizes Southmont High School as her headquarters.

“She also does a lot of behind-the-scenes work as far as preventative behaviors of kids,” Brewer said. “And she knows the kids — that’s very helpful.

“(Sheriff Ryan Needham) has been so good about making this thing work for us,” he added. “He would have an officer come out here anyway, so if we can get to the root of the problem even sooner, it’s even better.”

The grant is made possible through a 50/50 matching program called the Secured School Safety Program. If a school can show it has made $50,000 worth of security-related improvements to its building, IDHS will match it to fund the officer’s salary for a year.

The funds also support security camera upgrades, an electronic visitor badging system and door-locking mechanisms.

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