School Resource Officers Back to Patrol

May 1, 2013 7:44 PM

As the N.R.A. continues to push for armed guards on school campuses in light of recent school shootings, it appears the Chico Police Department will be pulling its officers from three high school campuses due to budget cuts.

For the past 15 years Chico police officers have been a regular sight on Chico Unified's three high school campuses.

"Primarily, they're there for safety of students and for the big issues that come up on campus. Weapons on campus are probably the biggest," Capt. Ford Porter said.

But, at the end of this school year, the officers will be heading out on patrol to replace colleagues who have retired from the department.

"We kind of looked at our budget right now and said, well the way we are looking it is probably best we pull them," Porter said.

Police had hoped to keep the officers on campus by getting the district to pay half of their salaries and benefits.
While Superintendent Kelly Staley says the officers are an integral part of school safety, she says it's hard to justify the cost.

"It's really difficult for me to go and say we're going to give $200,000 to another organization and their employees when really we still have things to settle with our own employees," Staley said.

Some parents are concerned that the move will lead to problems on school campuses.

"I think it adds a sense of security for the students and the parents," Rachelle Lacque said.

But police and school leaders are already talking about training teachers to better identify signs of gangs and drug use.

“If we don't have SROs, we are going to be reaching out to the police department to say give us more training," Staley said.
"We'll still have a presence there. It's not going to be day in day out, somebody on campus with an office," Porter said.

Both sides say they hope the officers can return to campus once the economic situation improves.


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