Madison Police return to Madison school district

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published February 1, 2019

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MADISON HEIGHTS — Recently, officers from the Madison Heights Police Department visited Madison District Public Schools to provide active shooter training. The officers are now appearing at random in the school buildings as well, walking the halls and mingling with the kids.

The idea is to be visible in the community and build trust with the public, establishing a comfort level with the kids so that the police are approachable to them when they have concerns. The officers can also serve as positive role models.

The arrangement was welcomed by the new school board, which had five new members elected in last fall’s election. According to the police chief, the previous administration hadn’t been as receptive, and for the last several years the police had only appeared in Madison schools when responding to calls for service, or for the occasional special event.

“I never received a reason (from the previous administration), but when I requested to have officers stop in on occasion to visit with the faculty and students, I just didn’t receive an answer,” said Madison Heights Police Chief Corey Haines. “Again, we’ve been in the elementary school for a couple of special events over the last few years, but not to the degree that we’ve been invited into the other schools in the city.”

The police have already been regularly involved with Lamphere Schools, appearing at the district’s end-of-the-year picnics, in its leadership presentations, at its homecoming events and during reading events. As of the previous school year, the police have also been visiting the schools in the Lamphere district on a regular basis.

Now the public can expect a similar level of involvement in the Madison district, according to Mark Kimble, the president of the Madison school board.  

“I think collaboration between the police and schools is vital, and goes a long way toward fostering a positive relationship between students and the police,” Kimble said.

The police chief said that his officers will be immersing themselves in the school communities.

“The main purpose is for the officers to interact with the faculty and students,” Haines said. “This would include visiting the school at lunchtime and other times throughout the day when the officers would have an opportunity to meet the students.”

The police chief expects that this will help both sides to understand each other.

“Generally speaking, for the last several years, the only time that officers were in the schools was when something was wrong or there was an investigation taking place. In my opinion, this leaves everyone with trust issues, because they only see the police when something is wrong,” Haines said.

“By having the officers in the schools on a more regular basis, we are hoping that the students and faculty will see that we are just regular people that are here to help them when they need us. Hopefully, this will reduce some of the barriers that exist based on what is seen or heard, or past life experiences that may not have been positive situations with police officers.

“While it certainly could inspire some (students) to become police officers, I think the most important purpose is to bond with our students, teachers and parents, and truly support the mission of the city,” he added. “We want the students to be able to speak with a police officer and express any concerns they may have. We want to open a dialogue.”

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