Clinton Township Board of Trustees approves additional police hires for school liaisons

School districts must decide whether to pay 50 percent match

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published October 9, 2018

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — On Oct. 1, the Clinton Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved the authorization of two additional sworn police officers in an attempt to offer one additional school liaison officer each to Clintondale Community Schools and Chippewa Valley Schools.

It would increase the number of sworn officers from 93 to 95, requiring a $150,000 budget amendment to the Clinton Township Police Department’s 2019 fiscal year budget. Officers would work five days per week, eight hours per day, and would apply via posted positions.

The caveat is that each school district must fund 50 percent of its own officer. Cannon, who called it a “win-win” during the meeting, said officers would be hired based on the districts’ decisions. 

Chippewa Valley Schools Superintendent Ron Roberts, whose district already has a liaison in Clinton Township, said the $75,000 price tag on this match is “not just a critical need, (but) a baseline need.”

“We’ll (pay) that,” Roberts said. “We’ve been working with Clinton Township on this concept for a few months, and this is an important part of our plan for school safety. (Liaisons) serve a very useful purpose in our school district.”

Trustee Mike Keys, citing a “steep bill” on behalf of Clintondale, countered with his own motion: the authorization of a budget amendment in the amount of $225,000, fully funding a school liaison officer in each school district, with a third patrol officer fully funded by Chippewa.

Cannon then referred to Michigan Department of Education statistics, stating that the revenue per student in the Clintondale district is $10,620 per student — ranked 209th out of the state’s 830 districts. Chippewa Valley, he said, gets $9,361 per student, ranked 601st statewide.

Keys’ motion, which was supported by Treasurer Paul Gieleghem and Trustee Jenifer “Joie” West, failed by a vote of 4-3.

Clintondale Superintendent Greg Green could not be reached for comment at press time.

Clintondale School Board President Jason Davidson said, “Our Board of Education has not taken up the issue, and the superintendent has not reviewed any details of the plan to bring it forward to the board.”

“I appreciate Mr. Keys’ efforts. I don’t think the district just needs a liaison; the community needs a liaison. It benefits everybody,” Davidson said. “The residents would benefit from having a greater connection with the police department.”