Utica Community Schools, area law enforcement partners continue to focus on safety and security
Utica Community Schools, area law enforcement partners continue to focus on safety and security
Posted on 11/29/2018
Police officer talking to classUtica Community Schools and its area law enforcement partners have announced a series of new safety procedures and protocols as part of their ongoing security program.

 “Our strong partnership with local and county law enforcement agencies continues to have a positive impact on the safety and security of our students and staff,” Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns said. “Through our continued discussions and review of the best practices, our team works collaboratively to implement initiatives that impact both the learning environment and the overall health and well-being of our students.” 

“While we have always had an excellent relationship with our schools, our departments have never been more connected to our schools,” said Sterling Heights Police Chief Dale Dwojakowski.

“We have safe schools,” Shelby Township Police Chief Robert Shelide. “Our communities have high expectations that we are focused on school safety and security. Through our collaborative efforts, we are meeting those expectations and ensuring we are doing everything possible to protect the learning environment of our valued educators and children.” 

The collaborative efforts have resulted in a series of recent initiatives focused on student safety and well-being. 

With the recent passage of the $155 million Safety and Security Bond Proposal approved by voters on November 6, district officials are moving forward with a series of facility improvements. 

The improvements include expanding the use of camera systems in each UCS school, which provides law enforcement access to the technology during emergency situations. The improvements also provide focus on secure entry areas for all UCS schools. 

Bonds will be issued after the new calendar year and projects are scheduled to begin in the spring. A timeline for the improvements will be featured on UCS and individual school websites in January. 
In addition to facility improvements, all sixth graders this year are taking part for the first time in programs through local police departments that address bullying, healthy relationships, substance abuse and responsible use of digital devices. 

The first set of sixth graders are graduating from Sterling Heights schools this month in the Skills Mastery and Resistance Training (SMART) moves program. UCS students in Shelby Township, Macomb Township and Utica will receive Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) this spring through the Shelby Township Police Department and the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department. 

At secondary schools, an ID card system for students is being introduced this month. The cards readily identify students who attend the school and mirror colleges and workplaces that issue ID cards as part of their protocols. 

In addition, local police departments will be instituting a safety inspection using the department’s K-9 unit at UCS secondary schools. The K-9 unit is specifically trained to identify materials or substances that are not allowed on school property. 
Communications have been sent to secondary parents by high school principals regarding both initiatives. 

The four new programs follow a series of initiatives introduced last school year to respond as a result of incidents at schools nationally.

These initiatives included instituting School Resource Officers at district high schools, providing active assailant training for staff and students, and providing local law enforcement agencies access in emergency situations to the district’s high school camera systems.  Area police officers continue to maintain a visible presence through regular visits to schools.