I feel it is necessary to respond to the letter on “School Police” (March 19) which questions my statement (quoted in a March 8 article about the student who stabbed a teacher) and asks why only half of our school police force is assigned to schools.
In answer, 252 officers, nearly 83% of our 305-person police force, are assigned the primary responsibility to protect students and property at our schools. Of these, 143 are assigned to campuses to watch over our students before, during, and after school hours. The additional 96 officers are assigned to patrol units that provide motorized security on and around the campuses both day and night. This deployment has proven to be the most efficient use of manpower.
Our police force is the fourth largest in the county, but I do not feel it is large enough to provide adequate on-campus security and safety for our students and teachers. We need more officers. Unfortunately, we do not have the money within our current $20 million school police budget to hire them. In addition, there are 13 vacant officer positions. Although recruitment of qualified personnel is difficult, we hope to fill these positions soon.
Please be assured that I am committed to do whatever I can to bolster school police ranks. The presence of more officers will help create an even safer environment for our students and teachers who not only need, but deserve the civil right of an island of safety in our schools.
Board of Education
L.A. Unified School District