Law Enforcement (Part 3)

Annett Tamayo, Staff Writer

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The district has made an announcement that they will be getting rid of SRO’s. (School Resource Officers) on the campuses of the West Contra Costa Unified School District in 2019.

What Do SRO’s Do?

School Resource Officers generally serve the same law enforcement job here on campus as they do as police officers outside of school. The officers undergo police training as well as other training in SRO school. Officers deal with things that range from fights to meeting with students who are on probation and keeping the campus and students safe. Officers have the capacity and the training to assist the school immediately in case of an emergency situation during school hours. Pinole Valley High School has one School Resource Officer who has been serving the students of Pinole Valley High School since August of 2017.

Safety:

Let’s face it, safety is a big concern for every single student and staff member in every school. If an emergency situation were to happen the officer can “Let all of the officers and agencies know that there is an emergency at the school before anyone can pick up a phone and dial 911″ SRO’s are immediate first responders for any and all critical incidents on campus, whether it’s an intruder, a student fight or a health emergency. Having a police officer on the campus can eliminate several minutes of response time when seconds count! This statement is a great reliever to myself as a student because I know that in case of an emergency we will be assisted immediately. I think that we can all agree that “every second counts” and the faster an emergency gets assisted the better.

The tragic events that have happened in schools have left many to feel concerned about their safety and it is 100 percent understandable. I am shocked at the district’s decision, how could they fail the parents and students of the WCCUSD by wanting to leave students without an officer on campus?

Clearing Up False Statements:

One of the most frequent comments that I have heard throughout the school shooting conversations we have had in many of my classes was the fact that “the Pinole police department operates in a first come first serve basis.” This statement has left many students to feel uneasy. THIS STATEMENT IS COMPLETELY FALSE; in case of an emergency situation, the school is always a priority and it will always be put first!

Youth And The Police:

In my own experience, I have seen a lack of connection between the police and the community. We are all kind of distant; Mostly youth. Many teenagers are either afraid of the police, or they just simply don’t like law enforcement for whatever encounter they’ve had with them in their lives. However, through my work with law enforcement, I have seen so many bridges built. Shockingly, Students have good relationships with the officers. Their relationship can be described as “Great!” and according to the officer I interviewed, “the kids here are awesome! Even the ones that are here because of negative reasons, we all treat each other with respect.”

Youth and the Justice System:                                                                                                                                                          Prisons are packed and so many youth are being incarcerated like never before. In fact, California has the greatest youth incarceration rate according to children now. Shockingly, our Police officers are not great fans of incarcerating teenagers for small violations, which is great! SRO’s are not here to take students to jail for minor offenses because kids don’t always have to go to jail. Officers would much rather meet with them and get them back on the right track, instead of going to jail for a dumb mistake. School officers are here to help and be an outreach for students.  ”Embracing positivity, and helping people” is what they want to focus on doing.

Impact on the community:

As I looked deeper into this subject, I learned about many things that are not always talked about, which saddens me because they should be shined on and recognized! School Resource Officers impact the community in many ways, but what really caught my attention was the fact that they are really dedicated to the students they serve. They are truly a good group of people that care about the community and the people around them. For example, They help students in many ways whether it’s financially or through counseling. “They have paid bus passes for students, and help people who can’t afford a ride.” The district is failing to see the impact they make on campus.

I think that getting rid of SRO’s is completely ridiculous! I have no idea how the district could even consider this. Officers are well needed on these campuses. They are keeping and making the students of the West Contra Costa Unified School District Safe! I really do hope that when 2019 comes around, the Schools Resource Officers will still be around.