How Oxford and Wyandotte Police Departments are dealing with threats

Wyandotte+Police+sitting+outside+RHS+in+the+afternoon+patrolling+over+the+area.

Nilah Haugabook

Wyandotte Police sitting outside RHS in the afternoon patrolling over the area.

On November 30, 2021, a tragic shooting occurred which resulted in four students being killed and seven others injured including a teacher at Oxford High School in the exurb of Detroit, Michigan.
“Oxford High School went on lockdown immediately during the active shooter situation and police had the suspect in custody within about three minutes of their arrival,” wzzm13.com wrote.
Similarly in the RHS lockdown on December 9, 2021 the school went into lockdown and police responded within minutes. In this case the suspect had fled the scene but the police found him and lifted the lockdown in under an hour and a half.
According to the New York Times, the Oxford Police Department has been offering a two-day course ALICE training and teaching students how to handle such situations.
For Wyandotte Public Schools, there are several police cars conducting patrol checks, along with a range of four-five police cars driving daily around the schools.
“School safety is important,” Chief of Police Officer Brian Zalewski said. “You need students, faculty and parents knowing that when they [students] are at school, they are safe.”
According to wzzm13.com, district officials and first responders took in safety protocols right away and did it very well during the lockdown of the shooting.
“Law enforcement immediately went in, and you’ve got to sort of go through and determine whether or not there’s just the single individual or there’s an accomplice,” Michael McDaniel, a General who served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense from wzzm12.com, said.
The Wyandotte Police Department is doing a number of things to make sure that students and faculty are safe at school. One way they’re doing this is by keeping a line of communications between the police department and school administrators. Additionally, according to Superintendent Dr. Catherine Cost, Wyandotte Police have access to our school cameras to help monitor the building if issues arise.
“It is a huge help to students and teachers,” Zalewski says. “The teachers can concentrate more on teaching and their students can concentrate on learning and enjoying school activities.”
McDaniel states that having trusted school resource officers and following the “See Something, Say Something” policy goes a long way for safety.
“If you’ve got a classmate and all of a sudden he’s changed, you know, he’s become withdrawn, he’s become isolated, he’s become depressed, there’s ideations,” McDaniel from wzzm13.com said. “You know, there’s dreams of fantasies of some sort of violence. If there’s an unhealthy interest in guns, if that’s all ramped up, you got to say something.”
It is very important for the Wyandotte Police department to be involved with the school district. Just being involved in the school activities builds trust with the students and police officers. The more students see officers, the more they are comfortable with officers being around.
“The Wyandotte Police Department has been patrolling the schools for many years,” Zalewski said.“When I attended Wyandotte schools in the 80’s, we had police officers patrolling inside and outside the school.”
According to the Washington Post, many school districts have considered and adopted a wide range of strategies meant to help potential attacks. That includes hardening buildings by limiting entry points, locking doors, and installing additional surveillance cameras.
“It is also evident from the scene that the lockdown protocols, training and equipment Oxford schools had in place saved lives,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard from the washington post said.
Zalewski mentioned that there was no person who collectively thought of officers being security and providing police presence at schools.
“I am sure it [police presence] was decided collectively between the school district and police department,” Zalewski said.
This incident should be a wake-up call for parents, staff, and students about how quickly these shootings can destroy people’s lives.
McDaniel mentioned that he hopes this situation spurs a debate among parents, schools, and government leaders about how best to keep everyone safe.
For Wyandotte, hearing of the shooting was devastating. Not only is it scary, it’s worrisome to people because of how close in proximity it was.
“I was devastated when I heard about the school shooting in Oxford, Michigan,” Zalewski said. “We hear about school shootings occurring more frequently now but Oxford is so close to us.”
According to the Washington Post, they tallied 34 acts of gun violence on K-12 campuses during regular school hours. This year has seen a record number of violent acts at schools, though no increase in mass shootings.
“The lockdown procedures that were deployed in Oxford, in which students sheltered and stayed out of sight, absolutely saved lives,” lead researcher on the K-12 School Shooting Database David Riedman said.
Parents who own handguns can put their children in a dangerous situation and can also cause the safety of staff and students to be worrisome for many.
“There are responsible minors that have contact with firearms while doing activities that involve a gun with adults and they are under their direct supervision of a person over the age of 18,” Zalewski said. “Michigan law also prohibits the sale of a handgun to a person under the age of 21. A firearm of any kind is dangerous.”
Kids can have access to guns and can do whatever they please to do with them if they know how to use them.
“But the thing that we do know is that if kids can’t get ahold of weapons, then kids can’t shoot other kids and so we have to deal outside of the school setting with ways to keep weapons out of the hands of those under the age of 18,” McDaniel said.
Wyandotte schools will do whatever they can to keep students and staff safe, even if it’ simply providing that police presence and having that hold over people.
“The police department will continue to patrol the schools for a very long time,” Zalewski said. “Most likely, forever.”