DCSC Police Department
The Danville Community School Corporation has had a long and fruitful relationship with officials in the Danville Metropolitan Police Department (DMPD) and with the Town of Danville. Working together, we have been able to share the cost and services of two School Resource Officers (SRO) to provide safety and security to our students, staff and families. We believe safety is a top priority at Danville Schools and we continuously work to provide a safe and secure learning environment for the children of Danville. We are grateful for the unified connection that we share with our town and police department, and that certainly will continue.
At the May 2020 public meeting, our Board of School Trustees voted to begin the process of forming our own Danville Community School Corporation Police Department. This change comes after town staff approached school administrators last fall asking us to consider taking on our own school police force. Schools forming their own police departments has become a more frequent occurrence for many school districts. Lebanon, Peru, Rossville, Brownsburg, and most recently Avon, are other similar school districts who also have their own police departments. To the typical observer, the changes in the services offered by our SRO would not be very different, but the benefits are undoubtedly better for our students. Ensuring that we have school trained officers on site would be very important for the future of Danville Schools. Working security in a school setting is much different than doing so on the streets. We believe it is important to continue to have the right people with the right background, training and mindset working in these capacities. This benefits the social, emotional, and physical security of the students on our campuses greatly.
For the 2019-2020 school year, the town and the school corporation shared the cost and services of two police officers equally. We have been utilizing an $80,000 grant for the purpose of paying our half of the budgetary match. With this partnership, we provide space, training and technology within the schools for our officer's use, and the DMPD has been kind to provide the equipment used by our officers. With this agreement, we pay for year round services, but do not have the use of our two officers during the summer. An increased cost to provide these services has led town staff to request that the school corporation move from the 50/50 partnership and begin paying 70 percent of the overall annual costs beginning in 2021.
With increased costs in the future, and based on the research we have done, we believe that creating our own police department would be more financially responsible and provide more control over training, staffing, cost and scheduling. Our primary cost difference would be to cover the cost of up to one additional officer salary compared to what we pay now. We are currently pursuing a second grant source to further supplement this. The town has also graciously offered to donate equipment to ease the transition.
Continued support between the schools and DMPD will take place, as we work together to support the Danville community. We believe this change will be mutually beneficial. It will allow the town to meet their budgetary restrictions and provide community policing. It will provide the schools with the opportunity to enhance training for our school officers for interactions with children, while allowing us to create efficiencies by establishing our own annual calendar for police services.