Proposed district budget includes $45K for school liaison officer

Oxford’s school district has set aside $45,000 within the proposed general fund budget for the 2016-17 year to bring a police liaison officer into the district for added security.

During a board meeting back in April, township officials agreed to pay two-thirds of the $135,000 cost for the officer and a vehicle. The school district agreed to pay the other third.

Unlike a private security officer, a school liaison officer can write police reports, conduct investigations, submit his findings to the county prosecutor’s office and obtain warrants.

Assistant Superintendent of Business & Operations Sam Barna said the motion is part of an effort to improve overall security in the district.

“As large of a school district as we are . . . it’s crucial to have that full-time police liaison officer there,” Barna told this reporter. “If there’s ever an unfortunate situation, like an outside individual perpetrator . . . just having another individual who’s specifically trained in that specific scenario and has that direct contact with the Oxford substation… I think (that) would only assist us with increasing safety.”

While the liaison officer would be housed at Oxford High School, Barna said the full-time officer would serve the entire district including the middle school and five elementary schools.

Jim Rourke currently serves as the Oxford High School security officer. Barna said the new liaison officer would work alongside Rourke starting in August.

The district will work with the township and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office to finalize the new position.

While the district and police officials have yet to determine all details of the position, it is expected the liaison officer would be responsible for investigating cases, providing extra security, making special presentations to students and covering special events during the nine months school is in session, according to Barna.

During the summer months, the officer would investigate cases as part of the Oxford substation’s detective bureau.

The school board is expected to approve the budget at its June 22 meeting. That meeting will take place at the district’s central administration building located at 10 N. Washington St.


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