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Council Unanimous: Bring Back Police At Two Schools

Mayor directed to sign an agreement with school leaders to restore a part-time officer at Newark Junior High School and MacGregor Continuation School after a two-year hiatus.

Newark City Council voted unanimously Thursday to authorize Mayor Al Nagy to sign an agreement with the school district to restore a part-time police presence at Newark Junior High School and MacGregor Continuation School.

Newark Unified has gone without a school resource officer at its junior high and alternative education center since 2010.

City Clerk Sheila Harrington said all four council members at Thursday's meeting endorsed the move, with Vice Mayor Ana Apodaca being absent due to a death in her family.

The agreement calls for the officer to serve on the two campuses about four hours per day, four days per week – costing the Newark Unified School District approximately $50,000 per school year.

The officer would also be available to assist in providing resources to the district's elementary schools.

Last month’s tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut has put a focus on school safety, and heightened parents concerns about the safety of their children, as expressed in prior articles on Patch.

But according to Superintendent of Schools Dave Marken, Newark Junior High has seen fewer violent incidents in recent years.

He has emphasized that the school liaison officer's primary role would be to help prevent violent episodes in the future.

"We still maintain that our schools are the safest place for our kids to be," Marken has said. 

Marken also said that reinstating a police officer at Newark Junior High and MacGregor has been a goal of the district's for the past year.

How do you rank your child’s school’s safety policies? Share your thoughts in our comments section below.

Birgitta Bower January 14, 2013 at 05:48 PM
I am presuming (since we haven’t been provided with facts) that the grant for the SLO (School Liaison Officer, sometimes also called SRO, school resource officer) comes from ‘COPS – Community Oriented Policing Services’ (www.cops.usdoj.gov) which sorts under the US Department of Justice. They give a 3 year grant for a school officer, if at least 25% is paid for locally. COPS also fund ‘Center for problem-oriented policing’ (www.popcenter.org) a program which offers extensive mindful advice on the subject of “Assigning Police Offers in Schools”. They do not go into any disadvantages of cops in schools (not that there are not viewpoints that hold that position), other than the very high cost and that 'some schools may not require SROs" and 'it is important to justify the implementation of an SRO.' The message seems to be that the program is not supposed to be seen as ‘a free cop’, though 'most police chiefs gave the availability of the funding as their reason for assigning SROs''; but it should a community decision that is very mindfully, considered, structured, implemented and evaluated. They also give the example, that once evaluated, many communities dropped the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program for more efficient strategies.
Nika Megino January 14, 2013 at 07:50 PM
Birgitta, Do you mean that there were three comments listed as comments in the comments section or did you mean quotes in the article itself were edited? Comments are posted by readers and users. Editors do not delete comments unless they breach Patch's terms of use. Comments can also be deleted by the individual who originally made the comment. I am guessing you meant comments because the article itself was last edited on Friday.
Nika Megino January 14, 2013 at 10:25 PM
I think you might be referring to this article, Birgitta: http://newark.patch.com/articles/officer-secures-schools-provides-safe-outlet-for-students (which was published in 2010) and has comments and quotes from the school leaders you mentioned in your previous comments. As I've mentioned, this article that published Monday morning has not been edited since it was first edited.
James Nelson January 14, 2013 at 11:56 PM
This is definitely a step in the right direction... Will stop idiots like this guy! http://www.kxii.com/news/headlines/Celina-parent-threatens-school-staff-to-test-security-186415491.html Cops exist so yahoo's like this don't have to rise to the occasion.
Mona Taplin January 24, 2013 at 05:17 AM
I agree with James.

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