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Bloomfield Hills

BHS works with township to hire additional security officer

January 29, 2013

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Following a recent in-depth review of Bloomfield Hills Schools’ security procedures, Superintendent Rob Glass announced last Thursday that the district is taking steps to partner with the Bloomfield Township Police Department and hire an additional school security officer.

In a letter to parents Jan. 24, Glass wrote that, while he has been assured the district’s procedures are “among the very best,” he also believes there is room for improvement.  

“The pathway to a higher level of safety and security rests in higher levels of consistent training for staff, students and the parents who frequent our schools,” Glass wrote.

“The best plans in the world are dependent upon faithful execution in order to provide the protection intended.”

Following the murder of 20 students and six staff by a lone gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14, BHS immediately began steps to review its own emergency plans and determine if improvements were needed. Glass noted in December that those plans, which cover everything from weather emergencies to external threats, are located in every classroom and are drilled by staff and students throughout the district.

In addition to communicating with the district’s two existing liaison officers, the role of the security officer would be to:

• conduct an immediate review of existing procedures, identify areas for improvement and implement improvements;

• provide ongoing training and drills at each building;

• monitor security on a rotating basis across the district to ensure procedures are being followed as intended;

• provide a visible security presence within the district;

• communicate with other law enforcement agencies to stay apprised of potential threats.

Bloomfield Township Supervisor Leo Savoie said officers began meeting with administrators in recent weeks at the request of Glass, in order to see if the township and the Police Department would agree to the idea.

“BHS will pay the officer’s salary and benefits and all of that, so we have no problem with it,” Savoie said. The cost to the district could not be obtained at press time.

“It will require us to hire another officer to replace the one leaving, because we’re down four from where we were five or six years ago.”

Savoie added that township officials like the idea of an additional security officer in the schools, calling it “one more level of protection.”

“It keeps that awareness out on the street. We think it’s a great idea,” he said.

Bloomfield Township Police Chief Kirt Bowden said the changeover will likely occur in late spring.

“We make most of our shift changes on April 1, so sometime between then and the end of the school year,” he said.

BHS buildings are already equipped with door cameras and buzzers, and require visitors to sign in at the main office. In addition to school liaison officers, building staff monitors the hallways and parking lots throughout the school day.

Staff are trained in different modes, in the event that the building is threatened — for example, in Secure Mode, all students are brought inside and movement inside the building is restricted as much as possible while instruction continues. In Lockdown Mode, all classrooms are locked and instruction is halted until the lockdown is lifted.

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