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A school resource officer helped capture the suspect in Oxford. How many local schools have them?

Posted at 6:58 AM, Dec 08, 2021

(WXYZ) — The mass shooting at Oxford High School has a lot of schools in metro Detroit revisiting safety protocols and increasing their police presence on campus.

Not every school district goes about security the same. Some have school resource officers, while others work closely with local police departments.

Officials say a school resource officer that was stationed at Oxford High School was one of the first people to approach the gunman after he shot 11 people.

Some say schools should be required to have SROs and others think a close partnership with local police is enough.

"I just think going forward in the future, they're going to have to make some changes," John Bauer said.

Bauer has a son who attends Berkley High School. He said safety was never a huge concern until the shooting at Oxford.

"It's just very, very surreal, and I think everyone just feels sad," he said.

The suspect gunman, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, opened fire at Oxford High School, killing 4 people and injuring 7 more. Police said it only took five minutes to get him in custody.

According to police, a school resource officer stationed on campus was one of the first to confront the suspect in the hallway.

"There's no doubt in my mind that that saves lives and who knows how many lives it saved in Oxford," Mo Canady said. He's the executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers.

Canaday said an SRO is different than a regular officer because SROs are specifically trained to work with students and they are always stationed inside the building.

"It is the most unique assignment in law enforcement. It's built on relationships," Canady said.

"It is the most unique assignment in law enforcement--it's built on relationships."

The Ferndale School District got rid of their SROs last year. Now, they rely on the local police department for security.

In Berkley, they don't have SROs either. Instead, they have police detectives, like Lt. Andrew Hadfield, who doubles as a public safety officer.

"We enjoy the benefit of being able to go and respond to the school when they want to, or when they need us without having to have an officer that's there all the time," Hadfield said.

Of the eight schools we called, only three reported having SROs – Novi being one of them.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. R.J. Webber said their presence has been a comfort for students since the Oxford tragedy.

"Students were actually going towards and wanted to be in the proximity of our SRO," he said. "It says a lot."

SROS and more police on campus may be part of the solution, but Bauer said schools may have to take security a step further.

"Unfortunately, schools are probably going to have to have expensive metal detectors and systems of getting in and out. I don't think anyone wants it," he said.

On Thursday, the Michigan House passed nearly a $370 million public safety police funding plan. In that plan, more money was dedicated to hiring school resource officers.