A second police officer will likely be deployed at Burbank schools this coming fiscal year after the Burbank City Council agreed last week to fund another school-resource officer position, touting the value of officer-student relationships in non-emergency settings.
Currently, the department employs one resource officer, who mostly focuses on the city’s high schools. Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse said the second officer will likely have a presence at the city’s middle schools.
The move will reportedly come at an annual cost of $145,081.
“I know exactly the importance of this program,” said Councilman Bob Frutos, a Los Angeles police officer who worked as a school-resource officer during his career, adding that the emphasis is on being a positive role model for students.
The Burbank program, which was established in 1981, had six resource officers at its peak, though most of those positions were cut due to budget constraints.
Last week’s decision came shortly after the council declined a partial grant to fund three new school resource officer positions for three years because the grant came with a steep local match of $1.2 million.
The federal grant would have provided the city with $375,000 over a three-year period for the three positions.
The council, at the time, had suggested splitting the costs with the Burbank Unified School District, but school board members said public safety doesn’t fall under the district’s jurisdiction. Plus, school officials said they couldn’t afford such an expense.
The council will take a final vote on the position when it considers adopting the fiscal year 2014-15 budget next month.