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Sheriff's office candidates talk school safety

With 20 school in the Tippecanoe School Corporation, it's up to the Sheriff’s department to help keep the thousands of children who attend these schools safe.

Posted: Sep. 14, 2018 6:41 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Both candidates running for Sheriff’s Office have shared their views on many topics, from mental health support for officers, to community policing and transparency, to lowering child sex crime rates.

On Friday, they discussed one of the hottest topics in the nation: school safety.

With 20 school in the Tippecanoe School Corporation, it's up to the Sheriff’s department to help keep the thousands of children who attend these schools safe.

Both candidates are making school safety a priority if elected. Especially following tragic incidents like the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary and, even closer to home, the shooting in Noblesville.

Republican candidate Jason Dombkowski wants to see more cross department collaboration.

“One of those take aways is not only training together as law enforcement but as our fire department, public safety, all encompassing holistic approach to an active shooter incident,” he said.

"It really does take us training together, that's my main point,” he added. “Not that we don't have active school training now but we have to be more holistic in that approach."

Democratic candidate Bob Goldsmith says he has gotten feedback from the schools. What he is hearing is that the Tippecanoe School Corporation is happy with what the Sheriff's office currently does for it.

"The schools like what is going on and that's what we will continue to do,” he said. “It would be great to grow the program with more school resource officers I know that has been mentioned about getting grants "

“The goal of the Sheriff's Department is to work with the Tippecanoe School Corporation to make sure everyone in the building, students, staff, everyone, can go to school and work and learn in a safe environment,” he said. “That's our goal.”

Both shared how they are personally connected to school safety.

"I have four teenage children,” said Dombkowski. “There is nothing more important in any community across this country or even in our own household than protecting our children."

"Thirteen thousand six hundred (students), that's a small town,” said Goldsmith. “It hits home for all of us. My daughter goes to Harrison, my wife works in the school, it's very important."

And both say they want to take pressure off School Resource Officers. Doing this by getting other officers out of the cop car and into the schools interacting with the kids.

"We can do a lot with a little if we work together better and we ask more really of our deputies to stop in at the schools," said Dombkowski.

And continuing to create positive interactions between students and law enforcement.

"What this student wanted to do if they were good in school is they wanted to play basketball and eat lunch with a cop. That was up at Hershey," recalled Goldsmith.

Both candidates will be debating their stances on various issues that the Sheriff's office faces at a candidate debate.

That debate is happening on Wednesday, September 19th at 7p.m. You can watch that debate live on WLFI.

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