Creative collaboration brings school assigned police officer to Newaygo
Keeping kids safe is an ongoing priority for all who value this most precious of all our natural resources. It is an essential part of being good stewards of the community.
With events around the country seemingly pointing to an uptick in violent acts and threats to our schools several local entities have moved forward to help enhance safety at Newaygo Schools.
Brooks Township Supervisor Corey Nelson and Newaygo Police Chief Andres shared a common idea. To have an assigned police officer for Newaygo schools. The two got together and forged a job description for the position then moved forward to get the support needed to make the idea a reality.
“We want to be proactive not reactive,” said Nelson when he spoke of the multi-jurisdictional effort that looks to be placing an officer on site by the beginning of the next school year.
The initiative is part of an ongoing effort at NPS to enhance safety according to Superintendent Dr. Peg Mathis.
“School Safety is at the forefront of the minds of all educators and there are multiple facets.
“One is to make sure that systems and procedures are clearly in place so students are taught and can practice model behavior. This system (Positive Behavior, Interventions, and Support - PBIS) is accompanied by positive reinforcement and consequences for students. Creating a positive school climate is essential for student safety. Behavior Specialists work with staff and PBIS teams to assist students who need extra help with social-emotional learning.
“Another facet is the physical landscape of the school. Making sure our students are safe by installing secure entrances and proper monitoring systems can assist building staff in trying to keep foot traffic flow in check.
“Finally, a School-Assigned Police Officer completes the NPS three-pronged approach. We are very excited and feel so fortunate that our local government entities are supporting this effort. This full-time officer will have three main functions: law enforcement, instructor, and counselor/mentor. The presence of a School-Assigned Police Officer has been shown to reduce vandalism, acts of violence, bullying, theft, and other crimes in a school system. Additionally, the Newaygo School-Assigned Police Officer can serve as a resource person, assist in family crisis intervention, work with social service agencies, coordinate prevention activities and direct school safety and lockdown drills and training.”
“The community collaboration that has occurred to acquire a school police officer shows that safety for our children is top priority,” said Newaygo City Manager Jon Schneider. ”The Newaygo Police Dept, Newaygo Public Schools, Brooks Twp, Croton Twp all worked together to make this a reality by jointly funding the position. "
Croton Township Supervisor Morgan Heinzman also voiced support for the initiative.
“This is an opportunity to help keep schools safe and protect the children of our community,” he stated. ” It also shows what can be done when people are willing to work together for a common goal.”
Newaygo Police Chief Georgia Andres has already begun the search for ‘the ideal police officer' who will fill this position.
“We are blessed to be part of a community that is at the cutting edge of safety for our children,” said Chief Andres. “ It's an awesome time in policing with the Newaygo community and we are looking forward to helping invest in our kids.