Police provide extra patrols at school following holiday break

By: Mary Beth Almond | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published January 12, 2022

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BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — It’s been over a month since a gunman opened fire inside Oxford High School, leaving four students dead and many others injured, and the impact of the incident weighs heavy on the hearts of many.

As holiday break came to a close, most students returned to their classrooms on Monday, Jan. 3. To ease the nerves of students and staff, officers were on hand to provide extra patrols at many local schools — an action that Police Chief Phil Langmeyer said will continue this year.

“We are dedicated to making sure our schools stay safe,” Langmeyer said.

As one of the first police departments to respond to the Oxford High School shooting Nov. 30, the Bloomfield Township Police Department understands why some students and staff may be uneasy about returning to the classroom.

“When Oxford happened, we were in the middle of defensive tactics training for the department, so we had a whole cadre of people that were down in our training room, and we were able to suit them up and put them on the road immediately,” Langmeyer said.

The township sent nine officers, three detectives and three supervisors to help search Oxford High School, provide security for the medical team at the school, and assist at the reunification center at Meijer.

When the area was secure and Bloomfield Township officers were released, they were invited to participate in a critical incident stress debriefing back at their home station.

“Most of the people that were at the scene took the critical incident stress debriefing, which was good … and we have offered continued support for anyone that was at that scene,” Langmeyer explained. “If they still need to talk to somebody, we will facilitate that.”

Many officers also volunteered to assist with traffic and crowd control with the candlelight vigil held in Oxford Dec. 4.

“We’ve received nothing but accolades from Oxford PD. They were very appreciative of the assistance we gave,” Langmeyer shared. “We’ve heard nothing but thank you’s from the people in Oxford — not only from the township supervisors, but from the police chief — and we will continue to help them in any way that we can.”

Since the Oxford shooting, Langmeyer said, hundreds of threats were reported at schools within the township, resulting in 20 separate investigations.

“One thing I want to let everyone know is, we are looking into every single one. If we get a threat, it is investigated,” he said.

One tip — reported through the state’s confidential reporting system, OK2SAY — led to the arrest of a 15-year-old student, who was charged in early December in connection with threatening violence at Bloomfield Hills High School. The teen was arraigned Friday, Dec. 10, on a charge of threatening to commit violence against students or employees on school property, a one-year misdemeanor. Police said no weapons were discovered at the student’s home.

Police continue to investigate “many other cases,” Langmeyer explained.

“We’ve had one that we’ve tracked back so far, but we do have a few others that may result in charges in the future — we don’t know,” he said.

The Bloomfield Township Police Department is responsible for patrolling approximately 20 school buildings, including seven separate high schools. Langmeyer said the department plans to continue extra patrols and a visible police presence at local schools to help the community “feel a little bit safer” returning to school this month.

“We’re stretched pretty thin trying to keep an eye on all those,” Langmeyer added.

The Police Department has conducted safety checks at local schools for many years, a task that Officer Nick Soley said will continue in 2022.

“A school check for us involves going into the buildings and walking around the schools to make our presence known,” he said. “Obviously, we amped that up after Oxford, and we will continue to have an extra presence at schools.”

Police are also hopeful school threats will dwindle in the new year.

As of Jan. 3, the department had no new school threats to report.

“Nothing has come to my desk new of threats or anything like that, so, hopefully, things have calmed down,” Solely said Jan. 3.

If a student sees or hears something that doesn’t seem right, they are encouraged to talk to a trusted adult or report information anonymously using OK2SAY at www.michigan.gov/ok2say or  (855) 565-2729.

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