Police, HPS partnership brings back school resource officer

Officer Don Banfield
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A renewed partnership between the Howell Police Department and the Howell Public Schools district will bring a school resource officer back to Howell Public Schools starting with the 2017-2018 school year. SROs are sworn police officers who work closely with local school districts to promote a safe, secure and positive learning environment. Additionally, SROs work to foster a positive relationship between students and the law enforcement community. A committee of representatives from the Howell Police Department and Howell Public Schools selected Officer Don Banfield, a 16-year veteran of the Howell Police Department to serve as the Howell Public Schools SRO. Banfield previously served as the Howell Public Schools SRO from 2006-2009.

“We are very excited to see the return of the SRO position to Howell Public Schools. The safety of our students and staff is our top priority and reinstating the SRO is another step we are taking to ensure that our schools are a safe and positive learning environment for all students,” said Erin MacGregor, Howell Public Schools superintendent. “I am very thankful that our Board of Education saw the value in the SRO program and for the City of Howell and the Howell Police Department for their willingness to partner and share the costs of the SRO position.”

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to re-establish our partnership with Howell Public Schools and again provide the services of a dedicated School Resource  Officer,” said Howell Police Chief George Basar. “Aside from providing a measure of safety and security and contributing to a positive learning environment, we look forward to having the opportunity to be a positive role model, providing guidance, counseling and mentoring while building positive relationships with the youth and young adults of the Howell community.”

As the Howell Public School SRO, Banfield will work out of Howell High School and be visible at many school events. Banfield will have jurisdiction over the six schools within the city limits, and will support educational and outreach efforts in the three buildings outside of the city limits. The district and the City of Howell will jointly fund the SRO position.

Banfield holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Cleary University. Within the Howell Police Department, he serves as field training officer for recruits, crime scene technician, and a firearms and use of force instructor. Prior to becoming a full-time officer with the Howell Police Department, Banfield spent four years as a reserve officer.

The Howell Public Schools SRO position was discontinued at the conclusion of the 2013-2014 school year, due to budgetary reasons. Under the new partnership, the SRO position will be funded for at least the next three years.

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