Schoolcraft Police Authority now certified force
BY KIM SORENSON
Crime has never been a big issue on the Schoolcraft College campus. This is in thanks to the hard working Schoolcraft Police Authority, who became a certified police agency on Monday, March 28.
Previously, the Schoolcraft Police were one step below a certified police agency as part of the Private Security Guard Act, which is Public Act 330, despite working at a public college.
The change put the Agency under the Public Act 331, a certified police agency such as the Livonia Police. Becoming a certified police agency made Schoolcraft College the eleventh community college in the state to do so, out of the 28 community colleges in Michigan.
“Day to day routines will pretty much stay the same,” said Officer Ken Losey of the Schoolcraft Police, “It’s always been our mission to keep the student populations safe and the faculty safe. So, that’s going to remain our mission even though we’re moving to a full police department.”
For students, this change won’t be noticeable. The Schoolcraft Police have had the ability to arrest since 2007, with limitations and have made very few arrests each year. What spurred their decision to become a certified police agency was the loss of some vital databases following an audit of their use of the Law Enforcement Information Network by the state. After the audit, the Schoolcraft Police lost the ability to look up driver’s license images and the ability to see the law enforcement sex offender database among other tools that helped the officers before the audit. Since the change in status, the Schoolcraft Police regained access to all the tools they lost and now have a better ability to keep campus safe. This change also allows police officers to make arrests out of uniform and to make arrests in the areas surrounding the Schoolcraft property.
“Our goal here is mainly to educate students and keep the campus safe, not to go out and arrest people,” said Schoolcraft Police Chief Steve Kaufman. “If we have to arrest we will, but that’s not a first choice.”
The Schoolcraft Police are most interested in keeping students, faculty and the campus safe. Not only is safety a top priority, education is as well. As a police agency at a community college, the officers have the option to utilize the student discipline process instead of criminally charging. More often than not, the officers end up using the student discipline process; the average number of actual arrests they make is around three per year.
However, the Schoolcraft Police do more than just respond to calls. They also monitor social media. They monitor posts for law enforcement reasons, such as someone selling drugs or threatening someone, as well as responding to complaints about Schoolcraft College.
The change to a certified police agency will not make much of a difference for students, faculty and campus visitors. What this change will do is to make campus safer for everyone.