Center Line council approves request for school safety officer

Warren Weekly | Published November 21, 2022


By Kathryn Pentiuk


CENTER LINE — The Center Line City Council has approved a proposal to apply for a state grant to place a public safety officer in Center Line Public Schools.

At its Nov. 7 meeting, the City Council approved the request presented by Center Line Public Schools Superintendent Joseph Haynes for the city to move forward and apply for a grant from the state, which would cover 50% of the total cost.

The deadline for the grant application was Nov. 17, and if approved by the state, it could go into effect as early as Jan. 17. If the state approves funding for the initiative, then the other 50% of the cost will be split evenly between the city and the school district, with the city being responsible for covering $33,250 each year for three years until the grant is up. After that, the City Council will review the budget and determine if it is feasible to keep an officer in the schools.

Director of Public Safety Paul Myszenski spoke in support of the proposal.

“As a parent, how much would you put in dollars and cents on the life of your child? That’s what it comes down to,” Myszenski said.

He said having a public safety officer on-site has many benefits, including safety and opportunities for students to connect and experience mentorship through various programs.

The proposal specifies that the officer would be stationed at the high school but there would also be programs offered at the middle and elementary schools.

Center Line Mayor Robert Binson recalled that when his children were in school, an officer was on-site, and he found that to be a positive experience.

“They got to know an officer and were able to interact with him,” Binson said.

He said that the previous administration had to remove the position due to budget restraints. Still, Binson said he believes implementing this motion would be valuable for the community.

“I’ve always believed that it’s best to be safe than sorry. And I think that having an officer in the school that kids know is there and have interacted with would be more of a deterrent to anything happening in the future than then, you know, a response to something that happens,” Binson said.

During the City Council meeting, the mayor and council members expressed their full support for passing the motion. A few concerns did arise as council members went back and forth about where the funding would come from and how they would fill the position.

The City Council voted unanimously in support of the motion without making any budget cuts and decided to fund the job out of the city’s general fund.

The officer will be selected from the Center Line Department of Public Safety, and a new officer will fill the open position on the force.