Grosse Pointe Woods receives state grant for school resource officer at North

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published February 22, 2023

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — An allocation from the Grants and Community Services Division of the Michigan State Police will enable the Grosse Pointe Woods Public Safety Department to install a school resource officer at Grosse Pointe North High School starting this fall.

At a Feb. 6 Woods City Council meeting, the council voted unanimously in favor of accepting the grant and paying a portion of the officer’s salary.

“After the Oxford (High School) shooting (in 2021), we had many meetings with school administrators,” Public Safety Director John Kosanke said. “There was interest on both sides to have a school resource officer. The thing that held it up was funding.”

A Feb. 2 memo from Kosanke to City Administrator Frank Schulte explained that the officer “will help to enable a safe and secure environment for local students.”

The grant will cover roughly 45% of costs associated with salary and benefits for the officer. At press time, the grant was in place for three years. Of the $444,000 estimated costs over those three years — which includes $25,000 in initial hiring costs — the grant would cover $66,028.67 annually, or about $198,086 over the three-year span.

The officer would work full-time in the school during the school year, from roughly mid-August to mid-June, or about nine months per year, Kosanke explained. During the summer, the officer would work out of the Woods Public Safety Department to help with manpower at a time when many officers are taking vacations, Kosanke said.

Because the officer would only be working for the city for a quarter of the year, for the costs not covered by the grant, Kosanke said the Woods would be paying 25% of the annual costs associated with the officer, for an average of $20,492.83, with the Grosse Pointe Public School System chipping in 75%, or an annual average of $61,478.50.

Noting that high schoolers from Grosse Pointe Shores attend North, City Councilwoman Vicki Granger asked if the Shores might be willing to pay anything toward the cost of the officer.

“I think it’s at least worth putting the question out there,” Granger said.

She added that the Woods already pays all the costs associated with crossing guards for schools in the city that are also attended by Shores youths.

While Kosanke said he could look into this, Mayor Arthur Bryant expressed caution.

“The only time (the officer) wouldn’t be working for the schools, the officer would be working for us,” Bryant said.

At this time, there won’t be a school resource officer at Grosse Pointe South High School in Grosse Pointe Farms.

“There was only enough grant money for one officer (for the school district),” Kosanke told the council.

Even if the grant isn’t continued after the first three years, Kosanke said he didn’t foresee any layoffs in his department because several officers are slated to retire in the next several years, so the position could easily be absorbed due to attrition.

In addition, because of the costs to hire and train a new officer, it would be financially beneficial for the department to absorb the school resource officer.

“I think this is a wonderful program, and I’m happy you’re pursuing this,” City Councilman Thomas Vaughn told Kosanke.

Since an officer already with the Woods Public Safety Department is likely to take the school resource officer position, Kosanke said the department probably will need to hire a new officer to fill that vacancy. In addition, he said he needs to meet with school officials and conduct contract talks about this position, among other tasks that need to be tackled to make this possible.

“There’s a lot to do in a short amount of time,” Kosanke said.

While this might seem new, Bryant said the district had a school resource officer in the 1960s.