VINCENNES, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — In a partnership with Vincennes Community Schools and Vincennes Catholic Schools, the Vincennes Police Department was recently awarded two federal grants totaling $837,422 and geared toward increasing school safety.

Before becoming Chief of Police in the City of Vincennes, Jonathan Hillenbrand spent three years as Vincennes Lincoln’s School Resource Officer (SRO). He said he saw the needs of the school and students firsthand and that led him to research opportunities to make city schools safer.

“This isn’t something we’ve gone out and gotten because of a problem,” Chief Hillenbrand said. “We’re just trying to prevent issues in the future. And it just makes our community, our schools, safer.”

The Vincennes Police Department (VPD) was awarded a School Violence Prevention grant totaling more than $330,000. The grant allows for the installation of safety and security film.

Hildenbrand said the film will be placed on “All ground-level glass on all the buildings in the Vincennes School Corporation and the Catholic Schools.”

What does the film do?

Hillenbrand said when the glass has the film on it doesn’t shatter. While the glass breaks, it essentially stays together which prolongs the amount of time before an intruder could bust through.

Hillenbrand said during research they watched several videos showing someone using a firearm to gain entry. The videos showed someone shooting through glass not protected by the 3M Llumar film followed by shooting a window protected by the technology.

“And then they use the 3M, and they shoot through it and show the difference and literally it takes, after they shoot the glass, they take a couple of minutes for them to actually be able to force enough glass out of that pane to be able to come to the other side,” Hillenbrand said.

In addition, the VPD also received grant funding from the COPS Hiring Program. $500,000 was awarded over five years to build the SRO workforce.

Greg Parsley, Superintendent of Vincennes Community Schools said this is a huge benefit to the school, “Our school resource officers are a crucial part of what we do. It’s very important that we have those positions, and we fund those positions, and this grant will allow us not only to continue to fund but add.”

That grant will add four additional resource officers, again benefitting Vincennes Community and Vincennes Catholic Schools.

“Our Catholic Schools have never had a school resource officer before. So, with this grant, it’s going to allow one of those four to go them.”

VPD is one of only 5 recipients in Indiana to receive the COPS Hiring Program funding.

Parsley said parents trust them with keeping their kids safe and that’s important, “Being sure that we’re doing everything we can as a school corporation to be sure that our students and staff are safe.”

Chief Hillenbrand said the hope is that the safety and security film will be installed by the next school year.