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RUSD reinstates police officers at high schools

By Hector Hernandez, Jr.

Highland Community ZNews

Published: August 16, 2018

 

The Redlands Unified School District (RUSD) Board of Education approved on Wednesday, Aug. 15, contracts with Redlands Police and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s departments for law enforcement officers dedicated to serving the district’s high schools.

The school resource officer program was reinstated as part of the district’s push to improve campus safety and security, a push reinvigorated since the Feb. 14 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida.

The agreements will place a full-time officer at each campus during school hours and at special events, such as sports games, for the purposes of improving safety for students and staff and reducing crimes committed by juveniles and young adults.

In line with the law enforcement agencies’ jurisdictions, Citrus Valley and Redlands High School will each be served by a Redlands police officer while a sheriff’s deputy will serve Redlands East Valley.

The district is paying $169,222 per year for the services of each police officer and $180,000 per year for the deputy.

School resource officers had been used in the past but were cut due to loss of funding during the state budget crisis coinciding with the Great Recession of 2008.

“It’s not because we want a gun on campus,” RUSD Superintendent Mauricio Arellano said.

“We want a connection with the agency so people feel free and comfortable building a relationship with a agency member when something serious has to be reported.

“It’s that relationship between the students, the staff, the parents and the SRO that’s going to be very important so we can sniff out things that may be happening that are not in the best interest of safety.”

The district has also recently raised campus fences, increased security controls at campus entrances, limited each campus with a single entrance and exit and is forming safety committees made up of parents and staff at each campus.