Responding to concerns over the questioning of Moorpark students by law enforcement officers, one school board member is suggesting that the city and school district jointly pay the salary of a sheriff’s deputy who would function as the department’s on-campus interviewer and gang prevention officer.
Board member Clint Harper said he hopes the plan would allay concerns by some on the board about the way students are questioned.
The school board last week considered instructing school administrators to advise students of their constitutional rights before allowing deputies to question them. The Sheriff’s Department opposes such notice, which it interprets as interfering with an investigation. No formal action was taken.
Harper said the deputy identified as the primary student interviewer “would be a regular deputy sheriff, probably a senior deputy, who would have a position that would be somewhat analogous to the DARE officer in that they would still be under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Department but would be very closely aligned with the school district.
“My feeling,” Harper said, “is that if you get a person who wants this position, like the DARE officer wants that position, they may be more interested in working with a specialized group of young people.”
The deputy’s salary and benefits could cost $50,000 or more per year, Harper said.
He pitched the idea Friday to Councilman John Wozniak, who agreed to bring the matter before the council to see if there is any support and discuss what city funds, if any, would be available to pay for the deputy’s services.
Wozniak said he may bring the item to the council at its meeting next Wednesday.