GALT (CBS13) – Galt’s school districts want to get a grip on gangs by connecting with students in the classroom.
Right now the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District and Galt Joint Union High School District share just one school resource officer. The plan is to have another officer who could get to know students and intervene when problems arise.
“Our biggest focus has been gang intervention, gang activity prevention,” said Galt police Lt. Brian Kalinowski.
Galt police Officer Sylvia Coelho says she’s stretched thin reaching out to students at risk of ending up behind bars.
“She will one-on-one address those issues to make sure we get some self correction from the students and prevent them from entering the juvenile detention system,” said Kalinowski.
Galt police say they’re in desperate need of more school resource officers, and adding just one more officer will make a huge difference in the city’s schools and streets.
“To be able to step in, recognize the signs of when a student is in distress or needing help,” said Galt Joint Union High School District Superintendent Matthew Roberts.
With gangs in Galt a continuous problem, police say focusing on their youth is critical because they can identify a change in a student quickly.
“It can be as small as a student wearing different clothing that may be gang related,” said Kalinowski.
Police say a school resource officer is a way to keep the streets of Galt safe by starting in the classroom.
“We want to be there early and often,” said Kalinowski.
The school district and police department are trying to figure out the financial logistics before they move forward. The money for the officer is coming from a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Galt school districts would make up the difference, splitting the $40,000 extra needed.