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UPDATE: Salinas city council approves school resource officers

SALINAS, Calif. - UPDATE 10/10/17 7:36 p.m.: School resource officers will be coming to the Santa Rita Union School District after city leaders voted to approve the deal Tuesday night.

The city council approved the memorandum of understanding with the district. The MOU was approved by the district board in August.

The Salinas Police Chief will hold a press conference on the new school resource officers on Wednesday afternoon at the Salinas Police Department.

UPDATE 10/10/17 5:45 p.m.:

The Salinas City Council is once again taking up the hot-button issues of school resource officers. The council will look at approving a resolution with the Santa Rita Union School District on Tuesday night.

The Santa Rita School District Board signed off on the deal in August, so now it’s the city’s turn to respond. The deal comes after two other districts, Salinas Union High School and Alisal Union, both rejected SRO’s. 

The resolution would put two Salinas police officers in six of the elementary and middle schools. 

"We are certainly very happy that Santa Rita School District is on board and open to building a relationship with their local police department and also allowing us to foster those relationships and start building trust, starting with our young people," said Salinas Police Chief Adele Fresé.

The school district says the SRO’s will not participate in student disciplinary action, but will be part of a positive experience, and called Tuesday’s council meeting “pivotal,” because it can start developing plans with police. 

"They'll have an office at McKinnon (Elementary School) and New Republic (Elementary School) to start,” said Dr. Shelly Morr, superintendent of Santa Rita Union School District. “and then we'll be working with principals and teachers to go through and develop a calendar of days they'll be at various schools, and the activities that they would be doing."

Community groups that have been against SRO’s say a police presence can create a “school to prison” pipeline, and that other community members are better suited to guide young people. 

The chief of police said “the proof is in the pudding.” 

"I think the critics will see that we're forging relations with our young people and that's very important to us,” Fresé said. “It's of huge importance e to us. So we can do a whole lot of good mentoring young people."

Salinas city council member Kimbley Craig said police officers are already out in the community with young kids. 

"They have the police activities league (PAL), the junior giants and a lot of these guys already working with the children in our community and it's great they'll be able to work with them now in the school system," Craig said.

ORIGINAL POST:

Tonight the Salinas City Council will discuss approving a resolution regarding a proposed Memorandum of Understanding with the Santa Rita School District for the implementation of school resource officers.

Superintendent Dr. Shelly Morr said if approved, the SRO's could start sometime this school year. Logistics would still have to be worked out. 

The SRO's would be coming from the Salinas Police Department, which received a $3.4 million federal grant. Two other school districts, Salinas Union High School and Alisal Union, rejected the proposals. 

KION's Mariana Hicks has the story at 5 p.m.


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