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Service Dog Initiative Approved for School Safety Program in Michigan

The Tecumseh City Council recently approved a unique initiative to enhance safety and support within Tecumseh Public Schools in Michigan. Following neighboring schools’ footsteps, Tecumseh Public Schools is set to introduce a service dog to collaborate with its school resource officer. Adrian’s SRO, Joshua Perry, spearheaded this innovative program. 

Tecumseh City Council approves service dog for school resource officer

On Mar. 18, Tecumseh City Council granted approval for pairing Tecumseh’s school resource officer with a four-legged companion, as AOL reports. Tecumseh Public Schools actively collaborated with Adrian and Madison schools to implement such a service dog program. They are following the pioneering efforts of Adrian’s SRO, Joshua Perry.

The program introduces a calm dog capable of fulfilling traditional police dog duties like contraband detection. Meanwhile, they should also be able to address the therapeutic needs of students and staff. 

Last week, the Tecumseh school board made the decision to acquire a dog for their initiatives. Subsequently, in a unanimous vote (7-0) on Monday, the city council moved to amend the SRO agreement with the schools. 

During the agenda review, City Manager Dan Swallow informed the council that the amendment was submitted on Monday. Its aim was to expedite the process of integrating the dogs into the schools. Additionally, the motion to approve the amendment included provisions for minor adjustments after review by the city attorney and school board. 

Moreover, the new SRO agreement must still receive approval from the school board. The dog’s handler will be Tecumseh’s SRO, Scott Lambka. 

The schools will annually reimburse the city for the anticipated expenses associated with dog care and handler training. Beginning in 2025, this expenditure is projected to exceed $15,000 annually, primarily allocated for officer overtime. The draft agreement outlines the estimated costs as follows: $600 for dog food, $500 for veterinary care, and $400 for certification. 

In addition, the handler’s overtime hours are estimated to be 216 hours per year. In 2025, the total program cost, including the dog, will amount to $139,674, rising to $142,468 in 2026. This expense is in addition to the schools’ existing 75% funding commitment for the SRO program.

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