Croswell-Lexington Community Schools recently hired a security firm after the Croswell Police Department was unable to fill its school resource officer position.
In a letter sent to parents Thursday, superintendent Dan Gilbertson said the school was notified earlier in the week that the city of Croswell is unable to maintain a school resource officer due to a shortage of qualified applicants for the posted position. The officer temporarily assigned to the district will be scheduled to end Jan. 28.
The school board approved the decision to hire Premier Security Solutions at Monday night's meeting. The company will provide multiple trained professionals to monitor all the district's campuses, providing security in all school buildings and at specific extracurricular and athletic events, Gilbertson said.
"Both the school resource officer and the private security company have the advantage of promptly responding to a school-based crime, fostering positive relationships between law enforcement, staff, and students, as well as providing a uniformed officer that through their presence can bring forward a positive and safe school climate," Gilbertson said in an email.
Gilbertson said security remains a high priority. Records show the district having a school resource officer as far back as 1998.
"Ever since the tragedy at Columbine High School in the late '90s and now with the most recent tragedy here in Michigan, it's more important than ever to examine all aspects of campus security and ensure we are proactively working with students, parents, staff, and trained security professionals to keep everyone safe here at Cros-Lex Schools," he said.
Premier Security Solutions is a security company based in Flint that provides industrial, school, event and corporate security, as well as security training, according to their website.
Gilbertson said the company's employees are recently retired industry veterans who have a wealth of experience to enhance the district's security, with backgrounds as chiefs of police, deputies and detectives.
While the school resource officer was temporary due to limited numbers of law enforcement, the security company's contract ensures the availability of security through June 2023, he said.
The security company's contract will cost about $168,480 for four company employees for nine months, Gilbertson said. The Croswell Police Department's contract costs about $83,000 for the same time period.
The district will continue to foster productive partnerships with local law enforcement agencies as the Croswell and Lexington police departments and Sanilac County Sheriff Department visit schools and build positive relationships with students through opportunities such as TEAM and internet safety presentations, Gilbertson said.
About 200 staff also participated in ALICE training on Jan. 3, which was conducted by the Sanilac County Sheriff Department, Gilbertson said. While the training is not new to the district, it updated existing staff who have received previous training and introduced new staff on how to respond to the event of an active shooter.
Additional ALICE training will be provided to staff, as well as age-appropriate drills for each building in the coming weeks and months.
The school will also receive grant funding to hire an additional social worker, bringing the school's total to four full-time positions once filled. School social workers expand the school's support and commitment to the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students, Gilbertson said.
Contact Laura Fitzgerald at (810) 941-7072 or email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Port Huron Times Herald: Cros-Lex schools hire security company, will lose school resource officer