New state grants allow funding for UP school resource officers

Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 5:28 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2023 at 8:02 PM EST
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ROCK, Mich. (WLUC) - More U.P. school districts are adding school resource officers, with help from new state money.

Nearly $25 million in state money will help schools hire more on-campus school resource officers. Governor Whitmer announced the grants on Tuesday. Au Train-Onota received $38,000. District Superintendent Bryan Tyner said having an officer in the building will help if there is an emergency.

“We’re about 20 to 25 minutes from Munising and approximately 15 to 20 minutes from Harvey. So we’re looking at Chocolay Township Police Department or the Alger County Sheriff’s Department. So, it’s a distance if we have an emergency at the building,” Tyner said.

Tyner said with the grant now approved, the district will work with the Alger County Sheriff’s Office to lay out the resource officer’s duties. Au Train-Onota will be sharing an officer with the Burt Township School District which received $19,000 in grant money and Superior Central School District.

The officer will rotate between the schools throughout the week. Burt Township’s Superintendent Tony Barnes said even just one day a week with an officer will help bolster safety.

“The resource officer said he’s excited and he’s trained. He’s been looking forward to doing something along these lines for some time, but we didn’t have the funding to be able to do it. So for us to now have the funding we’re realizing his dream and it’s mutually beneficial,” Barnes said.

Mid Peninsula School District already had a resource officer and is getting a $24,000 grant. District Superintendent Eric VanDamme said the officer’s presence has many benefits.

“The obvious benefits are he does a great job of forming relationships with students he’s helped. He’s really done a great job with truancy and our attendance has increased due to him being in the building,” VanDamme said.

Tyner said he expects the new Alger County School Resource Officer to start by the beginning of the next school year.