BRAZIL, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Clay Community Schools is taking steps forward to increase its safety by having its own law enforcement on campus.

The Clay Community Schools Board of Trustees adopted a resolution at a board meeting in October that allows the school corporation to have its own police department.

The officers would be employed by the school and the goal would be to eventually have one officer on each of its campuses at all times.

“We have all these other things in place but this was just another layer that we felt was very applicable for today, obviously with all the school shootings around the nation, it’s very alarming, it’s something we take very seriously, so we just felt like this was another layer of protection and just something else we could put in our toolbelt,” Jeff Fritz, Superintendent of Clay Community Schools, said.

Fritz said the schools already have multiple safety measures in place, but having its own department would make it that much more secure.

“They become our employees, we have more control over that and again I think the big one is the consistency in our buildings because with the SRO’s right now, they are many times off-duty police officers, so we’re kind of [working around] their schedules, but if we have our own employees, we can develop our own schedule and you know, better for us,” Fritz said.

Fritz said he has been working with the Southwest School Corporation on how to best implement this new addition.

The Southwest School Corporation has had its own police department since January 2020.

“You know with some of the things that happened in schools, you know the different shootings and different other things, our board became a little more proactive about having officers actually on our campus every day,” Chris Stitzle, Superintendent of Southwest School Corporation, said.

David Story is one of the officers for the Southwest School Corporation police department, and he said he and the other two officers, along with the Police Chief, function as a mentor first, and law enforcement second.

“It’s a 180-degree difference from working patrol with the city where most of your interaction with kids are negative. They’re getting in trouble or drinking or something. Where at the school, it is mostly positive, so it’s been a wonderful experience,” Story said.

Fritz said the goal is to have a police chief and some officers hired before the end of this school year.

He said he hopes they can have the department up and running for the beginning of next school year.