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Michigan attorney general offers Oxford schools weapon-detecting dog, renews effort to review mass shooting | Nation

DETROIT — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has offered Oxford Community Schools the use of a dog trained to detect explosives and firearms along with a handler at the high school next school year.

Nessel, in a letter to the Oxford school board on Monday, also asked the district to reconsider its rejections of her offer to review the events leading up to the Nov. 30 mass shooting at Oxford High School.

Four students were killed and seven others including a teacher were wounded in the attack.

The district has twice rejected offers from Nessel to review what led up to the shooting and announced on May 10 that any independent investigation would wait until criminal and civil litigation was completed. A week later on May 17 the board changed course and approved hiring a consulting company to investigate and review the Nov. 30 shooting.

The Oxford school district has twice rejected offers from Attorney General Dana Nessel to review what led up to the shooting.

Nessel in her letter on Monday reminded the district the costs of the investigation would be borne solely by her office and that the investigation would be conducted “in such a manner as not to interfere with the ongoing criminal proceedings being handled by the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office.” .”

Oxford school board President Tom Donnelly was not immediately available for comment.

Nessel has accused Oxford’s school board members of being “more focused on limiting liability” than responding to the concerns of the community and investigating the events that led up to the shooting and has expressed concerns about what the district may withhold from the public using attorney- client privilege.

The dog being offered would come from Elite Detection K9, a nonprofit that breeds and trains dogs for explosives and firearms detection. Avondale High School in Oakland County has one in use.

“I had the opportunity to be introduced to this organization and to observe their work in the Avondale School District,” Nessel wrote in the letter. “Avondale High School relies on these dogs to sweep for potentially dangerous materials while at the same time being able to receive attention and affection from the student body in the course of performing their work.”

“I believe this animal would provide a sense of security and comfort to the students and staff at the high school and would enhance the safety of the building without hardening the physical environment,” Nessel stated in a letter.

Avondale has a one-year contract for its dog, Lucy, and pays around $35,000 for her services. The actual cost of training a dog for a year is around $80,000, said Greg Guidice, Elite Detection president and CEO.

Nessel’s office said costs associated with the dog would be paid for by the Protecting Michigan Foundation, an organization that aims to “lessen the financial burdens of the government.”

The nonprofit has paid for the majority of public service announcements out of Nessel’s office this year and has sponsored the videos on platforms such as Facebook over the past year. Most of the videos feature Nessel, who is seeking a second term this year.

Nessel said on June 7 she hosted a second meeting in Oxford to provide the community with responses to questions raised at a forum she held on April 18.

“These forums have been invaluable in providing me with insight as I advocate for changes in public policy to help address the continued threat of gun violence in our schools and our state,” she said.

Nessel said she plans to return to Oxford in the fall with some state lawmakers to receive input from community residents regarding changes they would like to see made in state law.

Since April the district has been testing an artificial intelligence-based gun detection software. Paired with existing surveillance cameras inside and outside the school, and monitored by former military personnel, the system can alert authorities to the presence of a gun carried in plain sight within seconds.

It’s one of several new security measures, among them biometric scanners to detect weapons and window shields, that the district is evaluating in the wake of Michigan’s deadliest school shooting last fall.

Jill Lemond, assistant superintendent of student services at Oxford Community Schools, previously told The Detroit News the new security measures are being considered as the Oakland County district moves forward with its three-year security plan.

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