School resource deputies will still be permitted in Los Angeles County school districts after the Board of Supervisor’s vote on Tuesday.
However, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will have to report back with data to prove the “effectiveness” of the program, as proposed by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Hilda Solis.
Instead of renewing the resource deputies’ five-year contract, the amendment approved a two-year contract through June 2019 with three more one-year contracts, subject to board approval, Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s Chief of Staff Anna Mouradian said.
“The contract will continue for the resource deputies,” Tony Bell, Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s Communication Deputy said. “Data be collected on the effectiveness for the resource officers.”
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl voted in opposition of the renewal, but the other four supervisors voted in favor, Bell said.
“Supervisor Barger strongly supports resource officers,” Bell said.
Additionally, the Sheriff’s Department will report back to the board in 90 days regarding best practice standards, including clearly defined roles, training curriculum, goals and alignment with other countywide efforts, the motion said. The Los Angeles County Office of Education will also provide technical assistance to school districts concerning school safety.
According to the motion, the Justice Policy Institute reported in 2011 that resource deputies spend about half of their time on law enforcement, one-fourth advising and mentoring, one-eight teaching and the rest performing miscellaneous activities.
Law enforcement officials have been present on Los Angeles County school campuses for about 19 years through the School Resource Deputy Program.
Councilwoman Marsha McLean attended the meeting to speak in favor of maintaining deputies on campuses in the Santa Clarita Valley.
“They are there to help make students feel comfortable and safe and are able to intervene with students in a positive way,” McLean said to The Signal.
McLean expressed concern with the requirement for the Sheriff’s Department to supply data because she said the help deputies provide is subjective.
“The program is such a success, I just wonder what is the intention of now having to supply this data is, which is going to be cumbersome,” McLean said. “How do you quantify how many crimes have not happened because of the presence of an officer on campus?”
Officials from around the county testified at the meeting, including Kathy Hunter, Director of Student Services for the William S. Hart High School District.
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