BLOOMFIELD, MI -- Officials with the Bloomfield Hills Schools and Bloomfield Township Police Department are working on a new arrangement that they say will help improve security management and communications in all buildings across the district.
The two entities will together create a new school security officer position that will assume several duties currently executed by individual building administrators. Superintendent Rob Glass said the idea developed out of the security meetings he attended and public feedback he received following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT.
"After using this terrible crisis as a moment to reflect, I believe this is an investment we need to make to ensure the highest level of security," Glass told BHS school board members earlier this month.
The position, which will likely be funded largely by the district, would oversee all security operations on more than dozen BHS properties across the Bloomfield area. Though details are still to be determined, the officer will also have school-related duties over the summer while students are out.
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The district listed a summary of anticipated tasks in a letter to parents Thursday:
- Conducting an immediate review of our existing procedures, identify areas for improvement and help make those improvements.
- Providing ongoing training and drills for staff, students and parents at each building.
- Monitoring security on a rotating basis across the district, making sure buildings are secure and procedures are being followed as intended.
- Providing a visible security presence within the district.
- Proactively communicating with our two existing Police Liaison Officers and other area law enforcement to stay apprised of any potential threats that may arise.
Glass said that while he's assured the buildings are safe and good security plans are in place, he believes this position will help ensure the execution of those plans in a crisis would be flawless.
"You can have the best plans on paper, but if (those executing the plans) would slip at all then they’re not nearly as effective," he said. "We do need to make sure that the plans that we have are executed with the highest level of fidelity we could possibly manage."
Different than a liaison
Bloomfield Twp. Police Capt. Steve Cook said this new security position would work differently and in concert with the department's current school liaisons. Those officers, currently housed at Andover and Lahser high schools, work on specific, school-related investigations or problems in all BHS buildings in the township.
Cook said he and others looked at nearby departments, but couldn't find an existing model for what they hope to accomplish with the new position. He said envisions the liaison positions remaining under the new arrangement, and that they will not supervised by the security officer. There is currently no timeline for when the position would start, and Cook aid the department will interview candidates for the new position and try to find the best fit.
"We want someone entrusted with this responsibility to be enthusiastic about doing this type of thing," he said. "The Sandy Hook tragedy shook the nation to its core, and kids that go to school, from a young age to the oldest ones, deserve to be safe."
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