By Tom Tolen /

The Brighton Board of Education approved a new security guard for the BECC building, which includes both The Bridge Alternative High School and district administrative offices. The Bridge has twice been named the top alternative high school in the state by the Michigan Alternative School Organization - the most recent time in 2019.

In addition, the board will be hiring a second police officer for additional security at 2,000-student Brighton High School.

The approvals came during the board's September 12th meeting.

Superintendent Matthew Outlaw told WHMI that the individual to be assigned to the high school has not yet been hired. Outlaw said, "The additional officer being added will be a retired officer from Premier Security." The district already has one high school security officer, Kristi Bell, the police liaison officer supplied by Brighton City Police.

The additional officers mean that all buildings where students are housed will have at least one security officer. The action comes in the wake of increased school shootings nationally and in Michigan, including last fall, when a 15-year-old student shot and killed four students at Oxford High School while wounding seven other people.

The Bridge is an alternative high school for students who, for a variety of reasons, may not thrive in the regular classroom setting and have a better chance to achieve in a less rigid environment where they receive more individual attention. The Bridge is housed on the first floor at BECC, while the second floor comprises central administration offices.

The officer at BECC is also being hired through Premier Security of Flint, the company that Brighton Area Schools has retained to provide security in the district’s four elementary buildings. All of the officers are armed and uniformed, although their gear is company polo shirts and khakis and not standard police uniforms.

Brighton Area Schools Superintendent Matthew Outlaw says Premier Security is also being utilized for extracurricular events. As an example, he says, the officers are assigned to provide security at Brighton Bulldogs football games. All of the officers are retired police officers who worked for departments throughout the Southeast and Mid-Michigan area. Most of them live in the Brighton area and one is from Fenton.

Outlaw says there will be regular meetings in the future between administration, staff and the security officers to review protocols to be employed when an emergency situation develops. In the last couple of years, administration has put into place a number of initiatives to improve security in the schools. Supt. Outlaw told WHMI, in his words, “This includes everything from procedures, training, facility improvements, prevention efforts, communication strategies, technology improvements and more.”

According to Outlaw, the cost of hiring the two additional security officers will be $42,000 each, with the means coming out of the general fund.