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Resources coming to Santa Rita Union School District

SALINAS, Calif. - Resource officers are coming to schools on the outskirts of Salinas.

The Santa Rita Union School District is welcoming them after two districts said no.

The $3.4 million federal grant was supposed to expire on Aug. 31, but the police department was granted an extension in July.

Still, they wanted officers in schools as soon as possible so that they wouldn't lose any portion of that money.

Police Chief Adele Fresé is looking forward to positive change.

"We have to move together in the same direction. We don't have to agree on everything, but we can't continually throw stones and continue the relationship to heal," Fresé said.

Fresé said four police-involved shootings of Latino men in 2014 didn't sit well with the community, and that's what makes building trust all the more important.

"When police have an opportunity to become part of the natural landscape of one's environment, there's no reason to fear," Fresé said.

Superintendent Shelly Morr said she's on the same page, and she also has something else in mind.

"The other thing I really want, for my middle school kids, it's for them to see it as a career option," Morr said.

But some parents and teachers said, at this point, they're neutral on the idea.

"There hasn't really been a whole lot of shootings or anything like that. No big violence around this area. I understand in the greater Alisal area, where there's a bigger gang presence, that some police presence could be probably a little more beneficial," said Adam Martinez, music teacher at Bolsa Knolls Elementary School. 

There's no set timeline for when that will happen. The resource officers will be assigned to the four elementary schools and two middle schools in the district, but Morr said it could be next semester.

Fresé said she's meeting with Morr next week to begin figuring out what kind of program or programs they want to implement.


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