A number of bills proposed by State Senator Jim Arnold of LaPorte during the recently adjourned legislative session have been approved by the General Assembly, and several of them have already been signed into law – most of which become effective July 1. Among those are bills aimed at improving school safety standards and policies regarding law enforcement.
Senate Enrolled Act 1, co-authored by Arnold, seeks to increase safety for Hoosier school children by assisting schools in hiring more school resource officers and dictates how to implement resource officer programs. The act requires individuals to complete training sessions for law enforcement officers as well as receive 40 hours of certified school officer training.
Meanwhile, House Enrolled Act 1151, sponsored by Arnold, improves safety and ensures protection for police officers in the state by creating a Blue Alert program for officers who are killed, hurt or missing in the line of duty. The act allows participating television and radio stations to broadcast and transmit information to the public regarding officers in danger.
Arnold also sponsored House Enrolled Act 1093, increasing accountability for those who harm law enforcement animals. The act provides that criminals convicted of disabling or killing a police dog will be responsible for paying the cost of replacing the animal.
Another bill sponsored by Arnold, House Enrolled Act 1044, improves public safety training for police officers, requiring them to receive training for interactions with individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
House Enrolled Act 1256, again sponsored by Arnold, aims to decrease the trafficking of contraband into state prisons by making the trafficking of cellphones a Class C felony with fines up to $10,000 for those convicted of smuggling cellphones to inmates. Inmates who receive such contraband will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and fined up to $5000.