Today , Sterling Heights Mayor Michael C. Taylor, SHPD Police Chief Dwojakowski, UCS Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns and WCS Superintendent Dr. Robert Livernois announced additional proactive measures planned for both school districts safety.
The measures announced include additional officers placed in local high schools, SHPD emergency access to security camera footage, a newly developed elementary school education program to be lead by SHPD staff and enhanced training.
“School safety has always been a priority in our City, but given recent events, our Police Department and local school districts are taking additional action to ensure the safety of our students, teachers and staff in Sterling Heights,” said Sterling Heights Mayor Michael C. Taylor. “I’m proud of this continued collaboration and will support efforts to protect our citizens.”
Dwojakowski said SHPD is working to enhance its already existing partnership with the two school districts in an effort to work together closely to promote school safety. He also highlighted details of the longstanding SHPD extra check-program, wherein all schools are assigned out for extra checks during daytime patrol hours. Dwojakowski said officers are encouraged to visit with staff and be highly visible on all school properties during their shift.
“Having more Police Officers present in schools will give us an opportunity not only to grow relationships with students and serve as a friend and resource, but also allow SHPD to react quickly if there were ever to be an active threat,” Dwojakowski said.
“The collaborative work between Utica Community Schools and law enforcement focuses on proactive measures that ensure safe and secure learning environments for our students and staff,” said UCS Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns. “The School Resource Officers and additional initiatives announced today will further our work to develop positive decision-making skills in Utica Community School students. The initiatives are also critical components of our Unified Security and Emergency Management Plan that prepares our schools in the event of an emergency situation.”
A new program SHPD plans to rollout called “SmartMoves” was also highlighted at the press conference. Dwojakowski said the eight-week program will involve an officer visiting local elementary schools to discuss important topics such as the harmful effects of alcohol and cigarettes or vaping, smart decision making and consequences. Both UCS and WCS have agreed to work with the SHPD to roll out this program beginning in fall 2018.
“Warren Consolidated Schools has benefited from a long standing relationship with the Sterling Heights Police Department, including the use of a school resource officer stationed at Sterling Heights High School, and other important community policing connections. This strong partnership has helped our district keep our schools safe and secure,” said WCS Superintendent Dr. Robert D. Livernois.
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric J. Smith also spoke at the event, highlighting the County’s zero tolerance policy of any threats made against schools.
“I applaud the Sterling Heights Police Department, Warren Consolidated Schools and Utica Community Schools for their initiatives to stem the tide of these threats and their vigilance in protecting our children while they are in the classroom,” Smith said. “I continue to urge parents and teachers to discuss the ramifications of false threats of terrorism. These threats are no joke — my office has a zero tolerance policy in place for any and all threats made against our schools.”
Media with questions can contact Sterling Heights Director of Community Relations Bridget Kozlowski at (586) 446-2471 or firstname.lastname@example.org or UCS Director of School/Community Relations Tim McAvoy at (586) 797-1107 Tim.McAvoy@uticak12.org.