The Madison Heights Police Department will be providing school liaison officers to both the Lamphere Schools and the Madison District Public Schools later in the school year. The city and school districts are splitting the costs.

The Madison Heights Police Department will be providing school liaison officers to both the Lamphere Schools and the Madison District Public Schools later in the school year. The city and school districts are splitting the costs.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Police officers planned for school districts

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published August 22, 2022


MADISON HEIGHTS — The city of Madison Heights is working with its two school districts to install police officers at each campus who will provide an extra layer of security for students and staff.

Madison Heights Police Chief Corey Haines said that his department is currently experiencing personnel shortages and hiring difficulties, so the school liaison officers won’t be immediately ready for the new school year. However, he anticipates they will be implemented around the start of 2023.

Funding is already in place for two officers who will work at buildings in the Madison District Public Schools and the Lamphere Public Schools. The police officers will be funded 40% by the city and 60% by the school districts.

Officials with the city and the school districts shared their thoughts in a series of emails.

“After years of trying to get this done, I am glad that this collaboration between the city and our school districts is in place for us to ensure our schools are as safe as they can be,” said Madison Heights City Councilman Mark Bliss. “When we went through our strategic planning budget session, this was a big priority of mine, as both a former Lamphere student and a current parent of children in the district. I’m incredibly thankful that we were able to get it done.”

Roslyn Grafstein, the mayor of Madison Heights, said: “The school liaison officers will complement our regular law enforcement staff, and provide a visual reminder to all that the safety of our children is our No. 1 priority.”

Cindy Holder, the president of the Madison District Public Schools Board of Education, said her district is also working on structural changes to the buildings to improve security.

“So we have, and will continue to investigate and implement procedures and make physical changes and upgrades,” Holder said. “An example would be the main entrance changes that were needed at the high school. Of course, the safety of all students and staff are most important.”

Patricia Perry is the new interim superintendent for the Madison school district.

“Educators are charged with so many tasks and responsibilities on a daily basis, and having a trained officer on the school premises will allow us to focus on educating our students,” Perry said.

Dale Steen, the superintendent of the Lamphere school district, said that his administration has devoted significant financial and human resources to improving school safety.

“Lamphere has always had a great working relationship with the Madison Heights Police Department,” Steen said. “By collaborating with them in hiring a school liaison officer, we will have a consistent police presence in our schools.”

Greg Fuller is the assistant superintendent of human resources for Lamphere.

“We look forward to this person to be viewed as an integral member of our school community’s staff. We see this person participating in our daily routines and more prominent events,” Fuller said. “They would also assist in necessary investigations, as requested by our administration.”

The Madison Heights Police Department is located next door to Lamphere High School. Madison Heights Police Lt. Michael Siladke said his department strives to be ready for worst-case scenarios.

“Our response protocol on an active shooter situation is to immediately respond and make entry with the goal of locating and stopping the assailants,” Siladke said. “This need for that decisive action is why we also train for solo officer entries, to eliminate any delay in response. That immediate entry falls in line with the best practices for these types of situations.

“Incidents including reports of ‘active shooter’ incidents at schools are, unfortunately, a reality in this day and age,” he continued. “For years, the Madison Heights Police Department has been training its personnel — and continues to train — to respond appropriately and decisively.”

He said that Madison Heights police officers already conduct routine patrols and walk-throughs of local schools to help familiarize themselves with each building and the people there. The police maintain open lines of communications with school administrators to address any issues that arise, and the officers have conducted exercises with school staff members, training them on what to do in the event of an attack.

“From the police administration down to the patrol division and detective bureau, a comprehensive approach and response to school safety has been developed, and is continually assessed to ensure best practices are being utilized,” Siladke said.