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Michigan school safety bill would make sure police and schools work together

Michigan school safety bill would make sure police and schools work together. (File - Sinclair Broadcast Group/Stephen Wozny)

Michigan lawmakers are working on a package of bills to make schools safer in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.

Newschannel 3's Jake Berent talked with police and school administrators, about a bill that aims to make sure they're working together when it comes to new construction and renovations.

The new entryway at Minges Brook Elementary in Battle Creek had ballistic glass installed among other security features. The new bill isn't mandating security features like ballistic glass, but rather making sure police and school officials are on the same page when it comes to security.

Lakeview Superintendent Blake Prewitt said, “A former FBI agent who has been our consultant for our construction projects.”

Prewitt says that's not the norm for many schools across the state.

He said, “It's not a normal thing when you're building new buildings, with your architectural firm to bring in a security consultant.”

If a bill gets passed, it will be mandatory for schools to consult their local police department when it comes to construction and renovation projects.

Battle Creek Police Chief Jim Blocker said, “I think we're smarter when we work together when we're talking about the safety of our kids.”

Blocker said when it comes to schools that teachers are the education experts, but police are the security experts.

He said, “Standoff distance, where doorways are, what are the points of entry, and access control systems, how are all those unified so people know what's going on throughout the entire facility.”

Prewitt said, “Police officers are looking at security cameras all the time, they can look through it in a different lens, having to say if I'm going to respond, I want to see this, I want to see this, I want to see this. Why not use your experts in the area who are going to respond in that situation?”

Blocker said, “By allowing us to be a part of the conversation and the design of a new school a new facility, it's smart, it makes sense and it's a good idea moving forward.”

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