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Superintendent speaks after teachers receive officer training
BARRY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Fallout is developing after a Newschannel 3 report.
On Thursday, Newschannel 3 broke the news that the Barry Township Police Department is training members of the Delton-Kellogg school district to be reserve officers so they can protect students in the event of a school shooting. You can read that story here.
“So the goal here is to have faculty and administrators in plain clothes carrying concealed weapons in school?” asked Newschannel 3’s Jared Werksma.
“Basically yes,” said Barry Township Police Chief Victor Pierce. “That’s exactly it.”
Following an explosive response, both negative and positive, from that piece of information, the school’s superintendent is saying that was never the goal.
“Can you give me a reason why you wouldn’t support it?” asked Newschannel 3’s Jared Werksma.
“This very concept, I think, with enough thought and enough study, I think can be a fair concept sometime in the future, but I just don’t know when that is,” said Delton-Kellogg Superintendent Paul Blacken.
“Reserve officers currently patrol the Delton-Kellogg campuses armed,” said Werksma. “What would be difference in your eyes?”
“Well, that’s a lot different than an employee being armed,” said Blacken. “How so, how would that happen? Where would their weapon be?"
"On them?” asked Werksma.
“No,” said Blacken. “Not on this campus. The Board of Education was clear that night that while we were okay with having employees be part of that process and training, there was no intent for them to be armed at the end of that training.
“Both Sheriff Leaf and Chief Pierce are enthusiastic about this concept,” said Blacken, and they heard clearly what we talked about, but in their enthusiasm for the concept, may have intimated that we were going to act on that at the end of this training and that’s just not true.”
“If having them carry concealed weapons was never actually part of it, then why go through the training,” asked Werksma.
“It was just an option for our employees to be part of it,” said Blacken. “There were several that were interested so we said sure.”
“Reserve officers, according to the chief, do have the ability to carry concealed weapons on any public premise and that was exactly the point of the course,” said Werksma, “so I still am confused as to why you would do the course.”
“That’s purely these individual’s choice, which is to take part in that course,” said Blacken. “As I said, the concept would have merit with the right procedures.”
Barry Township Police Chief Victor Pierce says that the reserve training for teachers will continue.
Chief Pierce also says he knew there would be some fallout after the training became public, but that he hopes one day there will be concealed weapons in the classroom.