School resources manager works to keep schools safe after Oxford

Sgt. Mike Simpson has been a more visible presence at Birmingham Seaholm High School since four students were shot dead in nearby Oxford.

As a School Resource Officer working as a liaison between schools and police, he strives to be a positive and vigilant police presence as this nightmare unfolds.

The full-fledged law enforcement officer jokes and shares aspects of his or her own life with the children so that students feel comfortable approaching him while remaining serious about practicing subject matter skills security during some scary times.

It’s a role that could save lives if Seaholm or other schools in the district ever had an active shooter.

Two weeks after the lives of Oxford’s teens were in jeopardy, Simpson is doing his best to restore some normalcy to campus. He is more often on the Seaholm campus and he is in closer contact with students, staff and administrators.

“You start to see a lot of kids say, ‘Hey, thanks for being here today,’ which is really nice,” Simpson said. “I have developed relationships here this week with children. Yes, I’ve been to school before, but now they’ve seen me every day for about a week, going in and out of classrooms.

Simpson is an Oxford High School graduate who still lives in his hometown. He was at work in Birmingham when he learned of the school shooting. He shared this personal detail with students who have questions about Seaholm’s safety.

Like other Detroit Metro cops, he works longer hours in an effort to make his school community feel safe while personally reeling from a nightmare that truly touched him. Safety, he said, is always a priority.

“You hate to train for this stuff, but you have to. You just have to do it, ”he said. “There is evidence that this type of training – like the ALICE training Oxford provided – has saved lives.

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Sergeant Mike Simpson from Birmingham moved into his office at Seaholm High School on the morning of December 8, 2021.

Most school districts in the Hometown Life area have assigned school resource or security officers for high schools and sometimes other school buildings. The Clarenceville School District is the outlier with no ORS assigned.

The fulfillment of the multiple responsibilities of the SRO is directly linked to these police officers’ relationships with students as school communities navigate shootings in schools across the country and now nearby.

“There are definitely some students who are freaked out and scared,” said Jordan Arndt, school resources manager at Wayne Memorial. “I think the good things are – everyone I’ve been in contact with understands how serious it is and how it’s no joke.

“It hits a bit closer to home due to the proximity to Oxford High School. It’s just something you have to think about. It doesn’t matter what school you work at. I don’t think it’s 100% preventable unfortunately. You just need to practice and be mentally prepared to stop it as quickly as possible. “

Wayne Memorial High School Resource Manager Jordan Arndt is monitoring students on Dec. 8, 2021, as time goes by.

Police stationed in schools across the country

School resource officers have been around for decades.

The National Police Foundation credits Flint with creating the first school officer post in 1958 to improve relationships between local police and youth. As more agencies followed Flint’s lead, programming shifted towards gangs and drug resistance.

Now there is pressure for school resource officers to engage with students, parents, school staff and administrators.

Shootings at schools like Columbine in 1999, Sandy Hook in 2012, Marjory Stoneman Douglas in 2018 and now Oxford in 2021 continue to change the learning landscape and safety protocols.

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The sad, painful and continuing ordeal of Oxford has local school resource officials expecting a call for more badge staff in schools and extensive reviews of preparation plans already filled with training exercises, education and lockdown.

Their contribution is invaluable since they are considered a vital link between police services and school communities. In addition, their presence allows everyone to feel more secure when teaching, advising, supervising and supervising students.

Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, said his agency’s training, membership services and conference attendance would most likely increase as after the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, in Florida.

“Most reasonable people knew this was happening because of the perfect storm of the pandemic and everything else in our lives and our society,” Canady said. “Whenever an incident like this happens, we cry with everyone, but our perspective will always be in this situation that SROs can and do save lives. This seems to have happened in Oxford.

The Oxford High School shooting took place in about five minutes. Along with another sheriff’s deputy, the law enforcement officer tasked with patrolling the hallways and campus disarmed and arrested 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley.

School resource officers are usually armed and wear their uniforms. After Columbine, they were informed that they or the first patrol officers to arrive would immediately attack the shooter instead of waiting for a SWAT team.

Police at school seen as “valuable resource”

Livonia Superintendent Andrea Oquist was principal of a primary school in Livonia about 20 years ago when the district welcomed its first School Resources Officer. Every high school now has one, and they serve other schools in the district.

Oquist regards School Resource Officers as “a valuable resource for us within the school community without a doubt.”

“The best thing we can provide is well-trained staff, administrators and security personnel,” Oquist said. “Fortunately, our district is able to provide all three.”

This is Northville Township Officer Mike Brown’s first year as a High School Resource Officer. He loves the potential to make an impact on children by being a guest speaker or teaching classes on the Fourth Amendment, which aims to protect people from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government.

A former high school athlete, he will try to strike up a conversation with those he sees wearing sports shirts. He also shares information about his own life so that children realize that the police are people too.

“The most important thing about the school resource manager is to build positive relationships with staff and students,” he said.

“If there’s a problem, they’re more likely to approach me and let me know what’s going on.”

Fallout after the Oxford shooting

Some school resource officers have been particularly busy since Oxford due to fear, threats, social media and precautions taken in light of the altered environment. They have gathered evidence that prosecutors are using to charge children for their threats of violence.

Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated a report of gunfire at Walled Lake Central High School in Commerce Township. Two Rochester schools have been closed due to a suspicious rating. High school students in Plymouth-Canton – attending three high schools, each with a school resources manager, on the same campus – were in lockdown mode for hours because a student was seen with a gun.

“Today we learned that a child has a gun,” Canton Police Chief Chad Baugh said at a December 9 press conference outside police headquarters about an hour away. before the students begin to be released to return home.

                                                                                Wayne Memorial High School Resource Officer Jordan Arndt keeps the memorabilia and drawings the students gave him in his office at the school.

In the time

The Parkland tragedy forced the Milford Police Department to create the post of School Resources Officer that Detective Dan Caldwell held for a few school years.

He investigated social media threats as a detective and as the school resources manager for a college and two elementary schools within the village limits.

Because he works with younger students, he can work on education and have an impact on young people.

Sometimes he has to deal with students who are already vaping. Typically, citations are lifted if young people complete a diversionary program.

“It has been extremely successful,” he said. “This is another advantage for the links between the police and the school. There is a myth (that) having school resource officers or law enforcement in the school is a direct path to jail. It’s actually quite the opposite in my mind.

A bigger presence can be a new normal

Caroline Czelada, Township of Northville Officer

A former Northville Township School Resources Officer, Caroline Czelada was patrolling Silver Springs Elementary School as part of the department’s decision to be more present during arrival and discharge times since the Oxford shooting.

“I get a lot of waves and (people) thank me,” she said. “It’s just community engagement if there is any. “

As a former school resource manager and mother, she reinforced with her children the principles of safety, why drills should be taken seriously, and what they would feel comfortable doing if their schools had a shooter. active.

“Really just give them permission. Whatever they feel comfortable doing at the moment they can do,” Czelada said. “If they want to run home, they can do it. To do.

“I really feel passionate about school and children. I want to make sure they are armed with the knowledge they need to make good decisions.

Contact reporter Susan Vela at [email protected] or 248-303-8432. Follow her on twitter @susanvela.

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