Traverse City Record-Eagle

Latest News - Mobile

February 14, 2013

Two Grand Traverse deputies to be put on duty at schools

Presence won't be as prevalent as in past

TRAVERSE CITY — Grand Traverse sheriff's deputies may again have a regular presence in county schools, but they won't be around as often as they were before.

Sheriff Tom Bensley plans to put two deputies on school patrol duty. Details have yet to be ironed out, but the general plan is to have each deputy be responsible for a group of private, public and charter schools, likely in a defined area of the county.

Until 2010 the sheriff's department had four regular school liaison officers, one each stationed at West Middle School, West Senior High School, Kingsley High School and East Middle School. The program was disbanded when schools cut their portion of funding — they paid half of officers' salaries during the school year — and Bensley said his new program won't have the same impact as the old one.

"This is not your father's Buick," he said. "Two people cannot do what four used to."

Still, some regular school presence is better than none, Bensley said. Deputies can ward off problems before they get out of hand, he said. They also serve as both a positive influence and a deterrent to crime.

"It's good for us to have connections with people of that age group," he said.

Bensley said he analyzed his department's workload and determined two officers could be put on school duty with little or no impact to services elsewhere. His department won't ask for money from schools for the two-man plan, but likely would ask for funding support if more are added.

Traverse City Area Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Cousins said he's glad to hear about Bensley's plan.

"I think that any time we can strengthen the relationship between students and law enforcement officers, that's a good thing," he said.

Cousins said it's "perfectly reasonable" to expect the school district to pay some portion of the cost if a full liaison program is resurrected. It's hard saying if the money will be available.

"I think there's a real value in school liaison officers," he said. "In terms of the cost, it's something we'd have to talk about. We certainly want to be part of the conversation."

The Traverse City Police Department still has a school liaison officer program. The department decided to fund that officer entirely after school funding stopped. The officer has an office at Central High School.

1
Text Only

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad