One Minute Interview Interview with Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard

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Michael Bouchard, Oakland County Sheriff

Sheriff Michael Bouchard leads one of the largest sheriff’s offices in the country, overseeing more than 1,400 employees and managing an annual budget of more than $166 million. Bouchard brings 35 years of elected and law enforcement experience to the position.

On January 11, 1999, Michigan Senator and Majority Leader Michael Bouchard accepted the nomination as successor to John F. Nichols, who died suddenly. In November 2020, Sheriff Bouchard was re-elected for the sixth time.

He spoke with Spine approaching the first day of school and preparing for emergencies.

During a emergency, are we prepare at protect our

schools and the community? How are we prepare?

Every emergency is different. They are unpredictable, dynamic and often very dangerous, but the Sheriff’s Office takes preparedness to handle emergencies very seriously. We train our assistants, we provide them with the best equipment available and we have high expectations. It is for all of these reasons that I believe the Sheriff’s Office is as prepared as possible to protect our schools and communities. However, I have been pushing for many years to have a state-of-the-art training center built that would allow not only the sheriff’s office but all police departments in Oakland County to increase their training program and their preparation.

I have has been Told this Oakland County deputies have has been coaching for asset shooter scenarios since 2018 and this the department the trains at less four time a year, After that more other departments. East this to correct?

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office has been training its staff in active shooter response for many years, well before 2018. I have been studying active shooter scenarios from around the world for over 20 years. We have been training on specific active aggressor events since the early 2000s, with dedicated eight-hour training sessions every two years. It is correct that we train several times a year, with three full days of continuous training, but these training sessions cover a multitude of topics, including active aggressor scenarios. In most cases, at least once a year, we conduct some form of active intervention against the abuser or refresher training. It is also a policy within the Sheriff’s Office that employees train once a month in some form of training in response to resistance, de-escalation, or weapons qualification. Our training requirements far exceed any mandatory training requirements.

What have you learned of the shootings at robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas and the Oxford High School this box be used at to prevent violence in schools?

The violence of an actor as we saw in Oxford and Uvalde is difficult to predict and prevent. It is a sad truth that these suspects often have the element of surprise and choose when and where the incident will take place. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office has taken several steps to reduce the likelihood of an incident. These measures include working with Oakland County school districts to implement one of many forms of active bullying training, implementing trained school resource officers in school districts, conducting security assessments, following up on any leads or threats of violence, training our assistants in response protocols, and providing our assistants with the equipment they need to respond. The best way to prevent situations is for everyone to share information about everything they have seen or heard. We’d rather investigate 100 false alarms than miss a real threat.

To tell about me on the ALICE (ALERT, CONFINEMENT, INFORM, COUNTER, CLEAR OUT) coaching for school Personal.

ALICE is a popular program used in many schools, not just here in Oakland County, but across the country. It’s a great program that requires a blended training model with online courses before hands-on instruction. However, this is not the only curriculum taught in schools. Each school district is responsible for choosing the program that is right for them. Programs like Run – Hide – Fight, AVERT (Active Violence Emergency Response Training) and ALERRT (Avoid Deny Defend) are also very effective programs built on the same philosophies and principles – preservation of human life to bridge response time for first responders. With respect to the Sheriff’s Office, we strongly recommend that our school districts offer this training to their staff, and we offer to teach these courses free of charge. We have several instructors who can teach ALICE, AVERT, ALERRT, Run-Hide-Fight, and more to any school district that wants to organize the training for their staff.

What has amended and What Needs at change?

This is a multilevel question with multiple answers. If we are talking about these events or school safety, I would say that many things have already changed, and some things must continue to change. For example, I think schools take threats of violence more seriously. Schools have become safer than they have ever been and we are seeing more and more School Resource Officers being used across the country. Additionally, the frequency of active abuser training for staff is increasing as it has now become the norm and not the exception. What I would like to see changed…I would like to ensure that criminals who legally carry or use firearms or violate applicable laws are held accountable. I would like to see funds and resources made available to provide training for MPs/officers and citizens, mental health and gun ownership. We need to address the human element of these crimes and again, more communication between all parties who are able to see or hear something. I cannot insist on this point.

What would have you As Parents at to know as we obtain ready for the beginning of school? What is the Parents responsibility?

I would like parents to understand that even after what we have seen in Oxford and elsewhere, the likelihood of something happening at your child’s school is very low. I would like them to tell their children about these events in a thoughtful and age-appropriate way. I would ask them to make sure their children know that any form of threat is not a joke, that it is taken seriously and constitutes a crime. I encourage parents to speak with their school district representatives and ensure that some form of training is provided to their staff. Parents should also know that the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office prepares our deputies to respond to those emergencies, if threatened, quickly and efficiently. Finally, I would tell parents to be diligent and aware of these dangers, but not be paralyzed by fear.

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