Schools need resource officers | October 10, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Perspective - October 10, 2008

Schools need resource officers

Monte Vista High School reopened in late August without a resource offer. We are glad this omission has been corrected.

The Town of Danville pays for a school resource officer for San Ramon Valley High School. San Ramon pays for California and Dougherty Valley high schools since they are both in that city. Last year the officer for Monte Vista was financed by Contra Costa County since the majority of its students live in unincorporated areas, using Dougherty Valley mitigation funds. But those funds were not available for this school year, and the school district began to work on funding options. The annual cost of an officer is $186,000, which includes benefits and other expenses besides salary.

Now the school district has agreed to fund 25 percent of the cost of the school resource officer for the remainder of the school year. The Town of Danville agreed at its council meeting Tuesday night to fund another 25 percent, or $36,000. And the county will fund the remaining 50 percent.

High school resource officers have been in U.S. high schools since the 1960s although they became more common after the school shootings of the late 1990s. San Ramon Valley High was provided an officer in 1999 after an incident on campus, funded through a three-year grant that covered 50 percent of the cost, with the town and the district sharing the remaining cost. The position was instated at Monte Vista in 2004. The officers focus on student counseling, safety and law-related education, plus have become an important part of the school environment as students begin to relate to them. And, yes, they are on campus in case there is any violence.

Superintendent Steve Enoch, who started at the San Ramon Valley Unified School District this summer, said if an incident occurred at Monte Vista and there was no officer he would hate to have to say it was for lack of funding. We agree. As the student populations grow at the Danville high schools, the school resource officers are an important part of the staffing.