BY TAYLOR ROBINSON
Since conversations began about enhancing Washtenaw Community College’s campus safety and security, the school moves one step closer to the approval of on-campus, armed Police Service Units, also referred to as Student Resource Officers.
After the board of trustees approved President Rose Bellanca to negotiate the contract with the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department at the Jan. 26 board meeting, it then moved to Washtenaw County’s Ways and Means Committee, resulting in a unanimous “Yes” vote last Wednesday. Sheriff Jerry Clayton, WCC’s General Counsel Larry Barkoff, and WCC’s Vice President of Student and Academic Services Linda Blakey addressed the committee.
“We’ve had a relationship with the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office for over a decade, and we’d like to strengthen that relationship,” Blakey said.
The contract includes an implementation date of July 1, 2016. There will be two PSUs in 2016 at a cost of $156,709 per deputy. After six months, there will be four PSUs in total, at a cost of $158,276 per deputy, the contract says. With other expenses such as supplies, fees and services, the total cost is calculated at more than $600,000. The contract is set for 18 months, ending on Dec. 31, 2017.
Adding PSUs to campus puts into question the school’s current security staff. Blakey said that since they are still in the negotiation process, they can’t speculate on the impact on the current staff.
The contract now moves to the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners for further discussion and possible approval.