By Tom Tolen /

A Brighton Police officer who acts as the liaison between the police department and the Brighton Area Schools has been named the “Extraordinary Bulldog” for the month of February. Kristi Bell, the district’s School Resource Officer for the 2021-22 year, has been with the Brighton Police Dept. for five years.

Officer Bell was nominated for the Extraordinary Bulldog honor by High School Lead Principal Gavin Johnson.

She is a 2015 graduate of Wayne Regional Police Academy. Bell is a member of the department’s Investigative Resource Unit, Field Training Officer program is the department’s Taser instructor and a hostage negotiator. She says school safety is her biggest responsibility in her current position, saying her goal is "to maintain a safe and secure learning and teaching environment for all students and staff.”

In discussing the "tragic events at Oxford High School at the end of November," Brighton Superintendent Matthew Outlaw said, in his words, “The essential role of the police liaison cannot be understated." Outlaw said further that, “The district is blessed to have Officer Bell on the team helping to protect the children and all school employees.”

One Brighton High School student said that Officer Bell “is an amazing person to talk to, always putting students first, (and) no matter how hard days can be, she's always there to help with a positive attitude.” High School Class Principal Matt Evans said, "Officer Bell also never hesitates when asked to go into the classroom and help educate students with real-world knowledge that will hopefully help them outside of, and beyond, high school.”

Officer Bell says the primary reason for Police presence on school property is for the safety and security of the students, staff and property. She says another benefit to police presence is establishing positive relationships between the police, students, the school and the community. Bell says that as the School Resource Officer it is her goal to act as a liaison between the school and the Police Department to address crime prevention and provide Police services involving students and school staff.

She also assists the Safe Schools Committee with developing safety procedures and security surveys. Bell does not have a typical 9-5 job, saying she works with school staff to ensure a safe environment for after-school activities such as athletic events and dances. She also mentors and counsels students, along with helping parents to address antisocial behavior patterns and the contributing causes.
In addition, Officer Bell speaks before classes about constitutional law, search and seizure laws, juvenile law, bullying, cyber bullying, internet and social media crimes, drug addiction and the dangers of drinking and driving. She says this interaction has been the most beneficial of her varied duties because it educates youths on the law and what is expected of them, and helps establish trusting relationships between the police and students. Finally, Officer Bell works as a liaison between the court system, students and their families to help the student navigate the court system.

(Photo: Officer Kristi Bell accepting the certificate and trophy as “Extraordinary Bulldog” for the month of Feb.)