Oakland Co. directs $3.2M toward Oxford shooting prosecution, counseling services
Correction: This story has been updated to clarify that the $3.2 million spending plan represents a portion of a $5 million allocation the board approved just after the shooting.
Pontiac — The Oakland County Board of Commissioners announced Monday it has appropriated more than $3.2 million to aid in the prosecution of the accused Oxford High School shooter and to supply mental health services for those impacted by the Nov. 30 tragedy.
The funding represents a portion of the $5 million reserved by the board immediately following the shooting to support the county's response. The board resolution approved Thursday provides additional general fund resources, officials noted in a Monday news release. It was approved 16-3 with one abstention.
The board authorized $500,000 to the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office toward the prosecution of the case against the accused shooter and his parents. Another $500,000, county officials said, will be directed toward mental health support for students, families, educators and other community members impacted by the tragedy.
“The way we respond to this horrible incident is very important to help not only the residents of Oxford heal, but for all citizens of the county, state and country,” Oakland County Commissioner Michael Spisz, R-Oxford, said in a Monday statement. “We must do our best to make sure we prosecute these evil acts to the fullest extent of the law. This is the time we need more, not less, when it comes to resources.”
The board's resolution creates positions for two office support clerks, two prosecutor investigators, two paralegals as well as a community liaison, a victim advocate and an assistant prosecutor, all of which will sunset Jan. 31, 2024.
“The urgency for action is now,” added Board Chairman David T. Woodward, D-Royal Oak. “Justice will not be delayed, and victims and their families will get the resources they need.”
Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old Oxford High School sophomore, is charged with 24 counts, including first-degree murder and terrorism, in connection with the rampage.
Four students were killed and six others and a teacher were wounded.
Crumbley's parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in the incident. Prosecutors said that the Crumbley's bought their son a handgun for Christmas, and in a meeting with school officials over Ethan's allegedly disturbing drawings and behavior prior to the shooting, refused to take the teen home, nor did they alert anyone, prosecutors said, to the possibility that he had the weapon in his backpack.
Other funding carved out in Thursday's resolution include $100,000 to support Oxford organizations and businesses that have provided aid following the shooting and $20,000 for counseling services for members of the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.
"We're very appreciative to the board for recognizing the counseling needs of deputies who went to the high school that day and later on with related incidents," said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.
Like the prosecutor's staffing needs, Bouchard said his office is evaluating key positions — from school liaison officers to internet specialists — that are needed to help prevent similar incidents in the future.
The Board also approved the formation of the Oxford Response Ad Hoc Committee which will continue to monitor the need and release of funds over the coming months.
Woodward will appoint Spisz to lead the committee, the Monday release notes.
“The citizens of Oxford continue to need support with this tragedy, especially when it comes to mental health,” Spisz said. “We at the county want to do our very best to support those in need and these monies can and will help do just that.”