TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — A first-of-its kind position oversees safety and security at Tippecanoe School Corp.’s 19 schools.
Stepping in to become TSC’s new safety and security manager is Aaron Gilman, a school resource officer at the corporation for nine years and a representative with the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office for 26 years.
Gilman says the position isn’t in response to the recent Texas school shooting, but the tragedy again exposes the reality schools face every day.
“This has been a discussion for quite some time and it just happened that the timing was surrounding these national events,” Gilman says. “The unfortunate part is that schools have become vulnerable now. They are no longer off-limits when we think about community violence. For us to be able to prepare ourselves for prevention, as well as response — I think this role is going to be very needed for that.”
Gilman retired this year from the sheriff’s office after being named Indiana’s School Resource Officer of the Year. Now, he’ll take a corporation-wide approach to school safety.
“Now, rather than focus so much on interactions with students, I really am geared more toward working on improving safety response. … and also just simply working with the teachers and staff to provide a much safer environment for them during their work day ,” Gilman says.
The new position comes as Tippecanoe County Council member John Basham pushes to station a police officer in every school.
TSC Superintendent Scott Hanback says he wants to grow the SRO program but, he notes, the process will take time and community support.
“Can we get to a point where there’s one in every school?” Hanback says. “Perhaps, but there’s a lot of discussion that will have to happen prior to that point.”
Finding highly trained officers with the right skill set could be the biggest challenge. Gilman says the job is much more than manning the front door.
“We are not only law enforcement officers in the building,” he says. “Really, our focus is more on mentorship … and we are also like teachers in the classroom. We try to bring information regarding public safety and the sort to students.”
As News 18 reported, Gilman recently investigated a perceived online threat at Wea Ridge Middle School.
He says one of his first goals is to educate parents and students on safety issues surrounding social media.