Owner security

Anchor Bay schools vote to use armed private security

The Anchor Bay School District has implemented more security – the plan allows for five guards at this time with plans to expand to eight.

Three of the guards are retired or former police officers, one is a military police officer, and another is a retired Detroit Fire Captain with experience in school and corporate security.

Stefanie Rieden is breathing a little easier after the Anchor Bay School Board voted to use private security.

“It’s a start, you have to start somewhere,” said Rieden, a parent. “And as easy as those schools are to get in, to have someone there who could potentially arrest it, sooner than our police department – that would be great.”

The board approved a three-year contract worth nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year with Fortis Group to provide armed security guards at its schools in addition to its three school resource officers and four unarmed security guards.

“To fill that void, we can have these people and move them to cover all of our buildings so that at least someone is always there,” Superintendent Phil Jankowski said.

Jankowski says the district planned to add more surveillance equipment and emergency alert systems if voters approved a bond proposal in November, but he said there was more immediate demand for security.

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“Parents’ number one concern was, ‘What are you doing while waiting? “”, Did he declare.

The answer was The Fortis Group, a company run by three brothers with police and military experience.

FOX 2 spoke by phone with CEO Brian Bastianelli.

“If you have a hyper-violent, deranged individual who is about to kill people in a targeted attack, the only thing that’s going to stop him is if he manages to get through the security measures in place. – he’s a good person with a gun,” he said.

The mass shooting at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and the shooting at Oxford High School right here in southeastern Michigan have made a big contribution to the district’s efforts to increase safety.

Dominic Vendittelli says Wednesday’s decision is just the first step.

“I don’t think it’s a gun issue with school violence, I think it’s a mental health issue,” Vendittelli said. “I think kids today are not like kids yesterday and I think there’s a serious deterioration in mental health due to a number of factors. In addition to what they’re doing today’ also try harder today to focus on mental health to make sure we fix this so we don’t have this problem in the future.”

John Deroo, the only board member to vote no on the contract, says the Chesterfield Police Department would have been better placed to provide armed security, even though it would have cost the district more money.

On top of that, he says Anchor Bay has not vetted the Fortis Group contractors who will be working at their schools.

“School starts next week, we have a piece of paper with their names on it,” Deroo said. “We don’t know who they are. But we do know the Chesterfield Township police officers. So I don’t think it’s too much to ask to wait another week or two. We would sit down with them, have a financial community meet and see if we can afford it.

The company’s CEO says all guards have been fully vetted and trained specifically to work in educational environments. District management said they want rangers to be fully integrated and involved in the life and culture of Anchor Bay schools. They will be wearing polo shirts and khakis and not tactical gear.

The Fortis Group also works in the Huron Valley School District.