Police officers will be reassigned to three junior high schools in Glendale next week in a program restored partly through an unexpected increase in state revenues.
The Glendale City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to reinstate the police counseling program after angry parents barraged the city with complaints for two weeks and collected signatures of more than 750 protesters.
The officers teach classes, speak at assemblies, help deter gang and drug activity and work to keep the students in school, city officials said.
The officials said they learned Monday that Glendale will receive $121,000 more in state funding than had been budgeted.
The council agreed to use most of that money--$110,000--to assign two police officers full-time to each of two junior high schools. Members also voted to fill the third position by re-allocating one of two positions in the community relations bureau of the Police Department.
But council members warned that reinstatement of the police counseling program, suspended this summer after 21 years, is only temporary, to end at the end of this school year. They urged that the city and directors of the Glendale Unified School District work together to find permanent funding for the program.
City Manager David Ramsay will report by the end of January on negotiations between the district and the city.
Mayor Ginger Bremberg called the unexpected state money “the magic dragon” that saved the program this year. She repeatedly has insisted that the school district share the cost of assigning police to school campuses.
School officials, however, maintain that the district already is paying its fair share for security, such as private guards on campuses, intercoms, fencing and other safety measures.
Parents argued that elimination of campus police would increase crime in the community, since there would be no program to counter gang activity and dropping out, and would cost the city more for police protection in the future. A separate program for police officers on high school campuses was not affected by the earlier cutbacks at the junior highs.
Councilman Larry Zarian urged parents to lobby state officials to release more money to local schools to help pay for programs such as Glendale’s School Resource Officers. “Put everyone on notice that we need a permanent solution,” he said.
Councilman Carl Raggio suggested that parents pressure the school board as well as the council. “Spread yourselves with parity,” he said.