Page 11 - Volume 28 Number 2
P. 11

 lls to arm teachers
The Police Officers Journal
  weapon is a licensed, trained uniform-wearing officer,” said state Rep. Robert Wittenberg, D-Oak Park.
Michigan Education Association Spokesman Doug Pratt said teachers need smaller class sizes, more counselors and better secu- rity, not guns. Some school districts are putting measures in place to ban guns in schools, unless carried by police. The East Lansing School District Board unanimously approved a resolution opposing open or concealed carry of guns in schools and calling on the state Board of Education to oppose all guns in schools except for those carried by trained law enforcement. “Students cannot be safe unless and until all guns — other than those carried by trained Law Enforce- ment Officers — are banned from our schools,” the resolution read.
The latest mass shooting sparked protests across the nation in favor of more gun control including: stricter background checks, ban- ning high-capacity magazines and mandatory waiting periods to purchase firearms. They also sought increased funding for mental health care. But the Legislature has been at an impasse on expand- ing or restricting access to guns. The Senate passed legislation that would allow concealed weapons to be carried in gun-free zones, like schools, bars, stadiums and churches, if the permit holder undergoes additional training. That bill has been stalled in the House. The House passed a bill that would allow concealed carry of guns without a permit for most residents, but that legislation stalled in the Senate. Democrats introduced several bills that would restrict access to weapons, but none have had a hearing in the Republican-controlled Legislature.
“We’re at that point now that we need to do something,” said Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive. “Safety and security of our schools and children and mental health issues can work in tandem.”
Meekhof suggested
potential use of the state’s
rainy day fund and school bonding
issues to help pay for security mea-
sures in schools. Gov. Rick Snyder said in February he supports looking into “red flag” legislation, which would allow law enforcement to confiscate guns from unstable individuals who pose a threat to them- selves or others and limiting access to assault rifles.
Troy Police, whose command staff is represented by POLC, are among area departments nationwide providing A.L.I.CE. training. It stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. Over
1,200 people attended an active shooter training meeting in March at Kensington Church in Troy, according to WJBK.
Police said people shouldn’t just hide, but take action, and when all else fails, fight. “If they are going to make their way into that room, and you have no other choice, you should not be sitting there waiting for them to get you,” said Troy Officer John Julian in a article. “Don’t give up, do not choose to be a victim. The natural response is to get on the ground because there is danger and there is gunfire. Once you are there, think of what your next move is. Are you going to make your way towards an evacuation point? Are you going to arm yourself? Are you going to do more than just sit there and wait?”
Troy Police also planned to train Troy Schools staff in A.L.I.C.E., which is planned to be in place for the 2018-2019 school year.
Police, prosecutors and schools are encouraging students to re- port incidents of violence and threats of violence to school officials, their parents, police or use the app OK2SAY, which allows students to report school violence and threats confidentially. d
    Suicides up in 2017
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co-worker contemplating suicide so they can take action before it’s too late. “That’s the ultimate,” Hough said. “It’s important to have that without having that judgment — and not expect to have your peers report what you say to them. This is a very honorable job they’re doing and we need them to feel good and be healthy.”
Public safety agencies often don’t want to call attention to job- related suicides. But sweeping them under the rug doesn’t help officers deal with loss and prevent future suicides, Hough said. “They see their peers taking their own lives because they couldn’t cope and they didn’t get the help they needed. There is this con-
stant cycle,” Hough said. “It definitely has an impact. It makes them more afraid to speak about their problems. They know for a fact they can lose their job, or be given a leave of absence. They would rather commit suicide than do that.”
In Massachusetts, state Representatives Jim Lyons, R-Andover, and Timothy Whelan, R-Barnstable sponsored a bill, which would require mandatory training in mental wellness and suicide preven- tion for Police Officers. The legislation proposes a two-hour course in all police training schools to teach officers ways to develop healthy coping skills. It also would help them recognize post-trau- matic stress disorder, signs of suicidal behavior in themselves and others, and teach them about finding mental health resources. “Suicide prevention awareness training would be a definite ben- efit,” Hough said. “We need to help officers deal with this.” d • 11

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