MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – Sometimes it’s a note scribbled in a bathroom—other times, an ill-conceived social media post as threats of violence against schools have gotten out of hand and several communities appear ready to crack down.
Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido and Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard are among the leaders who say something needs to be done as another problem surfaced Wednesday (Nov. 16).
One incident occurred at an elementary school in Novi, and the other at a high school in Lyon Township, where police were on the scene, checking to ensure the school was safe.
Incidents such as those often involve evacuating students or sending them home early, which gets on a lot of nerves.
Eastpointe has had one of those kinds of reports, too. What’s gotten out of hand is getting met with severe resistance.
That case prompted Eastpointe Public Safety Chief George Rouhib to look to the city council and toughen the rules to hold parents accountable for a child’s poor decisions.
“When a kid makes a threat on social media to blow up the school or to shoot somebody, you have to investigate it, and that takes a lot of resources,” said Rouhib.
Rouhib told Local 4 that he used all five of his detectives all day, pushing all other work aside to deal with a bogus threat last month. They get 80 to 100 police calls a day in the area.
“We just had one over a month ago, which probably tied up maybe five detectives most of the day by interviewing people and search warrants,” Rouhib said.
So, Rouhib went before Eastpointe City Council Tuesday (Nov. 15) night, hoping it would vote to charge parents the police department’s costs in such situations.
One council member voted against Rouhib’s suggestion.
“I just don’t like it, mainly because I don’t think the police department should be sending invoices,” said Cardi Demonaco Jr. “I think that we should have the judicial system handling consequences for actions.”
The council voted 3-2 on the first reading approving the measure. Eastpointe parent Iesha Miles says it’s really only right.
“It all starts at home,” said Miles. “You know, how you are parenting your child out here. If your child is out here doing bad things, then they should get penalized for their kids because that’s their child.”
“I don’t anticipate using this ordinance more than a dozen times a year, but it’s a nice tool to have in the event the officers are tied up for a day or two days investigating a case.”
Rouhib said that the finance department sends out the invoices, and there is still another vote to be had in a couple of weeks to decide whether the ordinance passes.