SOUTH BEND – In the wake of the Newtown shooting, South Bend's Common Council president believes there should be an armed officer at EVERY school.
After the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, South Bend and many other school districts hired officers to be in the high schools each day to promote safety and security.
South Bend has a total of 7 school resource officers who spend their time in the high schools and middle schools.
The city and the school corporation split evenly the cost of the SRO program.
But following the Newtown tragedy, which for the first time targeted elementary kids, South Bend's Common Council President Derek Dieter is proposing a resolution to have armed police in EVERY school.
"It's time we focus our energies on putting policemen in schools," says Dieter. "The days of expecting people to not come in (to schools) is gone."
Dieter says there are 46 public and private schools in South Bend. To put an officer in each one he figures could cost around $3.8 million.
The big question – how to pay for it.
"I know we're going to spend a million dollars on vacant and rundown buildings. For my dime, the safety of our children is more important," adds Dieter.
Dieter plans on seeing if there is any federal money to fund the proposal or if people would be willing to pay higher taxes.
"When I see people on TV showing emotion and stepping up," Dieter points out. Let's have them put their money where their mouth is, putting an armed officer in a school. People aren't going to come there because they're gonna have to fight someone who will fight back."
WSBT contacted the South Bend School Corporation to find out what they think about Dieter's plan.
"We would be interested and open to having a discussion about the proposal to have armed police officers in all of the corporation's schools," said Sue Coney, Director of Communications, SBCSC.
Dieter has also contacted Indiana Congressman and Senator-Elect Joe Donnelly's office and Congresswoman-Elect Jackie Walorski's office. Dieter says both are interested in sitting down and having a serious discussion about the proposal.
Deiter plans on presenting the idea in a form of a resolution at the city council meeting in January.
Deiter, who's been an officer for 35 years and on the SWAT team for 20 years, also has some advice for parents following this tragedy.
He says parents need to ask teachers and school administrators what they are teaching their kids to do if a gunmen comes into the school.
He says parents need to get involved and make sure the schools have a plan and that it's a good one.
Dieter isn't the only one talking about improving school safety.
Long-time Berrien County Trial Judge Gary Bruce made a public statement following the Newtown shooting, saying, "No one should be able to walk unfettered into a school. We don't allow that at the courthouse. Congress doesn't allow it. Let's protect the schools. One entrance with an armed and trained PROFESSIONAL security person."
That comment got a lot of people talking.
Bruce says if the government cut out some waste, adding police officers to the schools could be funded.