Last school year, 51 incidents at Sequoia high required police intervention, a 41 percent drop from a high of 87 incidents during the 2008-2009 school year, according to the Redwood City Police Department. In the 2013-2014 school year, there were 66, according to police data.
Redwood City police say the reduction is in large part the result of the School Resource Officer (SRO) program that has been staffing a cop at the campus four days per week since 2000.
At Monday’s meeting, City Council voted to approve a funding agreement with the Sequoia Union High School District to continue the SRO program next fiscal year.
The partnership between Sequoia High and Redwood City police “has reduced campus criminal activity and held gang related activity to an extremely low level,” according to Lt. Casey Donovan’s report.
The SRO program aims to break barriers between police and youth and heighten the police department’s community outreach efforts. On-campus officers help supervise sporting events and other school functions.
“Having a dedicated officer present on campus on a daily basis is invaluable to students, staff, and the Police Department,” the report states. “Due to this consistent contact, the School Resource Officer is uniquely positioned to serve as a mentor and role model for at risk students at a critical juncture in their lives. The opportunity for the officer and students to interact on a daily basis in a positive context cannot be easily duplicated or replaced through other programs.”
The cost for four days per week of the SRO program is about $210,000 for a fiscal year, of which the school district will fund $30,000. The remaining funds have already been included in the police department operating budget.