SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — In a five to two vote, board members with the Sacramento City Unified School District finalized the decision to reduce the number of police on campus to three resource officers and one sergeant.
Some students advocated for more counselors, not cops.
“The presence of a cop brought a whole different standpoint to the students. It brought that it’s no longer a school, it’s now a prison,” said Jalen Washington, a senior at John F. Kennedy High School.
For Washington, fewer cops on campus is a good thing.
“When you bring the presence of a police officer instead of having someone that cares about you there, it changes the whole narrative of the school,” Washington said.
The district used to have eight officers and one sergeant. The decision Thursday night means three officers will now be assigned to schools in throughout the district. Sacramento police say they’ll still respond as well.
“The school district or school district sites are just as able to call 911 as any other citizen, so they definitely have that at their disposal,” Deputy Chief Kathy Lester said.
Art Taylor from Land Park had concerns.
“Somebody needs to be in control. Somebody needs to be in charge when things get out of hand,” Taylor said.
Taylor was not only concerned about safety but response times.
“If you only have three SROs, how can they respond to an emergency that’s across town? They can’t do it,” he said.
This comes at a time when school districts nationwide have been increasing school resource officers (SRO) because of campus shootings.
Michael Hunsaker attends Accelerated Academy. He feels he’s still better off.
“Violence, in general, will always be in the back of your mind when many police officers are at your school,” said Hunsaker.
Previously, the district spent $1.5 million for eight officers. Reducing the number of officers to three means district saves $900,000. The district says they made the decision because of the community concerns about a police presence on campuses. Police say they’ll continue working with schools.
“There are still patrol officers the Sacramento Police Department is still staffed in patrol and can support the school district as well, at this point, we’re just going to try to work with the school district,” Chief Lester said.