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Posted on Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

Police boost patrols around schools in Ann Arbor area in wake of Connecticut shooting

By Kyle Feldscher

A week after the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., and the day some people thought would be the end of the world, police increased their patrols around Washtenaw County schools in an attempt to put citizens at ease.


Police have been increasing their patrols around schools like Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. tragedy.

Reports of a lockdown at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor turned out to be untrue Friday, but the sight of police cars outside other Washtenaw County schools was not uncommon Friday.

Ann Arbor schools spokeswoman Liz Margolis said the district worked harder to make sure perimeter doors to school buildings were locked, something schools are supposed to do as a matter of policy. The increased security measures apparently led some to believe Pioneer was in lockdown Friday.

“We’ve had a higher police presence in our schools this week because there are no liaison officers any more,” she said. “They’ve been rotating around and we had one rotating at Pioneer this morning.”

It was a similar story in many other county school districts, where the excitement over the last day of school before winter break also drew extra patrols.

In Ypsilanti Township, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office deputies stepped up patrols at some Ypsilanti Public Schools, said Sgt. Geoffrey Fox. He said patrols were increased because it was the last day before winter break.

Chelsea Police Chief Ed Toth said his department had increased patrols around schools in the city during the week as a precautionary measure. For Toth, the goal was to make the community feel a little bit safer as people tried to come to terms with the massacre in Connecticut.

Toth said he spent some of Friday patrolling schools’ parking lots and hoped the increased police presence would make students and families feel safer.

“It’s just talk around town and, when you have that going on, you do a little extra to make people feel safe,” he said.

A Chelsea High School student was arrested in Waterloo Township Friday after making a threat toward a specific teacher, but other than that, there have been no incidents in Chelsea, Toth said.

While families continue to wrap their minds around what happened in Newtown, Toth said the police have to do whatever they can to reassure people of their safety.

“It’s a horrific situation. It’s something that’s terrible and we can’t understand it and we’re trying to figure out why,” he said. “We just try to keep the community as safe as possible.”

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.

I'm hoping that AAPS's new policy of all classroom doors must be locked during instructional time goes away soon. Newtown was a major tragedy, but all classroom doors shut and locked at all times? The rooms currently are in one of three categories for temperature: just right, too hot, too cold. The ones too cold are in the high 50's, and locked doors just make it worse. If this policy is still in effect near the end of school year in June, many classrooms in schools with no air will be unbearable. This is to say nothing about about the interruption of having to open the door every time a student/staff member comes in during instructional time. It's been handled very poorly by central/building administration. But I guess it's to be expected...we are just the people who do all the dirty work and make sure the kids learn/are happy/etc., and they are the kings who make all decisions without asking for anyone's input outside of that rarefied circle of influence. This district succeeds in spite of the people who lead it. They refuse to ever ask for any meaningful input from staff, but are more than happy to sign another check for the expert of the day.

Jeffersonian Liberal

Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

I thought the progressives said that having a good guy with a gun would just scare the precious children and not protect them.


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

I think they should put a closed loop system with metal handles to the inputs of the schools, people who need to come to school must show your ID at the camera and say to students and staff looking check before opening the door may be an overly expensive but we as parents can cooperate to get together with the school district, is something that will benefit our children or family, sometimes we spend money on things we do not need or are not important, but the safety of our loved ones worth more.


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

I was at Huron this week and there were fewer points of entrance than usual (I.e., more locked doors). The kids kept letting each other in anyway. I told one girl to go to the other door, and she said, "Why?" I said, "Why? Why do you think?" She really had not one clue. Oh, to be young and ignorant...


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

Good short-term tactic to make the populace feel safer, but long term it's unsustainable due to limited policing resources. What's needed, long-term, are common sense gun controls -- like "don't sell high capacity assault weapons to the general public"! Lunatics, like Adam Lanza, have always been with us; recorded history tells us so. What's different now is that these people have historically unprecedented access to high capacity assault rifles and handguns. There is absolutely no logical reason for it. Tell that to the gun groups and the spineless politicians who live on their contributions. Take a look at who is financing your politicians. You may be surprised.


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

"Take a look at who is financing your politicians. You may be surprised." Who is financing them? We all are. The problem is so many people latch on to one issue. If they are for abortion you support them.Forgetting there are a myriad of other issues we should be concerned about. If they are against gun control you support them. Forgetting there are a myriad of other issues we should be concerned about. And the list goes on.


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 8:15 a.m.

As a stop-gap measure, having more police patrols at/around schools will hopefully be enough. But we all know long-term security for our schools is paramount. (pointing out: also long ignored). Even after several such atrocities, schools like Sandy Hook still just went part way. The "security door" they had was quickly defeated by Adam Lanza: he just shot out the glass window, reached in and unlocked the door. That's not a true security door - those have no windows or, if they have them, they've got built in circuits so that breaking them causes an alarm to alert police and/or on-site security to the sudden threat. A security expert would go around each school and point out such deficiencies (I've seen NO mention of such an assessment being done.) Cost conscious? Good - because you have to look at the cost of maintaining police presence versus armed guards versus trained school personnel: long term. Both police (the most expensive) and armed guards present on-going expense year after year. A trained volunteer school employee could fill that gap at no (or very little) extra cost. For those claiming that trained, armed school personnel present added danger: how many such people have committed violence in the schools where they're employed? The whole point of employment in schools is aimed at hiring stable, trained & educated employees who "work well with others." Important: just to have capable "guards" isn't enough: those guards must have the same kind of support that armed guards and police have. That is, there MUST BE effective access control and MUST be some facility design devoted to giving them the upper hand in any "surprise attack." Places I know of: provide secure places where such a "guard" has adequate visual monitoring from a secure room. They also have instant alarms to summon police at the moment of attempted break in.

Jim H

Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

Good common sense solutions.

Charley Sullivan

Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 5:47 a.m.

And when the next shooting happens at say, a mall, or a grocery store, will we then move the police there? And then to a park or a church after the next one? The answer isn't more armed cops, it's fewer armed people and, quite simply, fewer guns. Like abortion, they should be legal, safe . . . and RARE!


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 7:19 a.m.

@Charley: first, I'm sure you're as interested in providing effective defense of school kids as anyone else. But as one with experience in "access security" I have to point out that the focus now is on just doing that - not projecting on to security at other places. So lets focus on "hardening" schools with effective measures: one of which is to increase the presence of trained & armed security personnel. Others include providing school buildings with effective (and affordable!) secure access controls. (Adam Lanza defeated the school's security by simply shooting out the window in the "security door" - that's NOT a security door: those have no windows - for a reason). 1980s Technology: can completely secure a buildings of any size: with just 2 operators. Notice that's technology that's ~25 years old. In facilities I worked in (and on): operators were not armed - they had "instant alarms" which notified / summoned police EVEN AS intruders attempted to enter the building through "hardened" access points such as I described. At some point "armed cops" (or armed people) ARE going to be necessary. Also, please remember what/who we're trying to defend against. Specifically: all the mass shootings which have occurred involved deranged armed attackers with mental problems AND many had been on psychiatric drugs. Expert consensus is: we're not controlling THOSE people & drugs well enough. Finally - I think it's a side-track issue to say that fewer guns solves the problems at hand. If we could somehow vaporize all 300 million guns in this country - there'd still be readily available means of committing murder, even mass murder. The above mentioned psychos would simply switch to different "tools" to do their dirty work. Disarming average citizens: leaves them defenseless to OTHER more common threats: muggers, rapists, murderers, violent spouse-abusers included.


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 4:41 a.m.

It's a very sad state of affairs. To think that when I was in school, the biggest worry I had was whether or not one of the nuns would hit me with a ruler!


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 6:02 p.m.

Candy, as someone growing up in pre-vatican-2 Catholicism, I can relate to what you are saying! I'm left-handed, in spite of the best efforts of Sister Benigna, using a wooden ruler w/a little metal edge on it, to try to "cure" me, that is until my mom saw the welts on the knuckles of my left hand.....she took me to school, had a chat with the principal, and sister B. promptly stopped.....wish I could have been a fly on the wall in the principal's office......;)


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 4:18 a.m.

ok you got a mil in the art commission budget still left. why not take than money and post guuards or police at eh schools. i rather save some children vs putting up stupid. art projects. you could also ius some of our veterans after they get processed with medical and other exams.


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 1:53 a.m.

The school board believes "it'll never happen here." Doing some research any school shooting like the heartbreaking incident last week has either not occured at a school with a liason officer or the liason officer stopped the attack before it became National news. Keep burying your head in the sand AAPS school board and administration!!!!

Charley Sullivan

Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 5:45 a.m.

uh, Columbine?? Not only was there an officer in the school, he engaged with the students shooting. And it didn't stop them.


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 12:54 a.m.

The police officers should be back in our high schools. The A2 School Board had no problem elimating the three liaison officers, citing a savings of $350,000. What about taking a look at Balas some time? Don't forget this board did not have a problem pushing through those 2 AM pay raises for Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and Legal Services Dave Comsa, and Deputy Superintendent of Operations Robert Allen, to $140,000 each. For Comsa, the pay raise was 12.4 %, and for Allen the raise was 7.2 %. Deb Mexicotte also led the board to increase the base salary of the superintendent as well. ($175,000 to $245,000)


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 12:24 a.m.

and they decided against having an officer in the schools because of cost.......putting this ahead of safety, not a good idea.......


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 12:11 a.m.

Will police prevent a mental health problem? No!


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 5:28 p.m.

Lots of kids have mental health issues. The idea that we can some how single the violent ones out is just NRA propaganda.


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.

No but they will prevent a mental health consumer to not shoot kids

Yuxuibbs DiNozzo

Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 12:10 a.m.

Put liaison officers back?


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 11:34 p.m.

Glad to hear this, too. Two of my kids said that they saw two police cars at Pioneer today. Also, they said that all the doors were locked today; doors that usually are not locked.


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.

Can't believe you let golfers comment stand when I think of some of mine that have been deleted.


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 4:20 a.m.

they could shoot down the doors and go in.


Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 12:20 a.m.

I agree, Suspect. There are a lot of entrances to Pioneer. The kids go out one exterior door, go in another exterior door, to get to another class, in another hallway. The route is shorter this way, instead of going through the halls, from wing to wing. My daughter was surprised when she was stuck outside today...never happened before.

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Dec 22, 2012 : 12:11 a.m.

This is the way it should be. Only limited doors open in the morning, and only one door once school starts.


Fri, Dec 21, 2012 : 10:49 p.m.

Thank you to our law enforcement officers for trying to make us feel safer. But I found myself letting out a huge, sad sigh as I read this. Whether we carry a gun or wouldn't dream of it, this is not out best ever holiday season.