Montcalm County School District Looking to Bring Back Liaison Officer
LAKEVIEW, Mich.- A liaison officer might be walking amongst the students at Lakeview Community Schools when Christmas Break is over. After the Newtown massacre, school and village officials realized even more, that this could happen just about anywhere.
“It was all fresh in our minds, I would say even that morning we were sharing text messages and emails between the superintendent the chief of police; we’re all communicating thinking okay, how can we address this here?” Village Manager James Freed said.
The district had a liaison officer back in 2009, but funding ran out.
“When he was there, we had a lot of positive response, the kids liked him the community liked him and not only that, he really helped. There’s off campus benefits to a school resource officer, when he’s in school during the day he’s building those relationships, so when something happens out of school they have people they can communicate with.” Lakeview High School Principal Gary Jensen said.
Lakeview Police Chief Darin Dood said there’s a COPS Grant through the Department of Justice that might help with funding.
“Basically, it’s the old D.A.R.E. program or COPS Grant. It’s federal funding to put a full-time police officer on and typically the way that grant works, is, it’s a four-year cycle, the first three years are paid for with the federal grant and the fourth year that municipality or county would have to pay for that fourth year.” Dood added.
Freed, Dood and Lakeview Community Schools are working together to see where they can come up with the fourth year money.
“From this point, we’ve entered into a tentative agreement mirroring the one we had prior, in 2009, and at this point , it’s going to come to our council meeting in January as well as the school board meeting in January.” Dood added.
He already has a part-time officer that is interested in working with the kids.