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Citrus Heights considers putting school resource officers back on high school campuses

School resource officers could make their way back to Citrus Heights campuses
School resource officers could make their way back to Citrus Heights campuses 02:25

CITRUS HEIGHTS - Citrus Heights is looking to add school resource officers to keep students and staff safe on its high school campuses.

Before COVID-19, Citrus Heights funded its own school resource officers on its high school campuses. It had to stop the program because the police department had to reorganize due to staffing challenges. Now, the city wants to bring them back. 

"I think the students are so stressed on their safety and social issues on the websites and internet, that they can't focus on their studies," said Audrey Grant, the grandmother of a San Juan High student.

The Citrus Heights City Council is considering hiring and funding two additional police officer positions to be placed on its high school campuses, which would cost $185,211 per officer and $370,422 total each year. 

In October 2023, the city asked San Juan Unified if it would fund these resource officers. San Juan Unified wrote a letter to Citrus Heights in March 2023 declining to help with funding.

It said it is already investing over $4 million into its own school safety measures, including its Safe Schools Program which includes nine community safety specialists, not law enforcement officers or security guards.

"I wouldn't mind an officer being here because I think it just shows respect for the law, and when you see an officer, it just gives a little more security," said San Juan parent Wayne Johnson who is all for officers on campus.

His freshman son, Richard Johnson, told CBS13 that officers on campus could be intimidating for students.

"It would be weird to have a police officer here," said Richard. "There's not really crime going on."

The city did not cite any statistics on an uptick in calls or crime on campuses but said it is part of its plan to preserve and enhance public safety.

"They are our future," said Grant.

The city council is considering three other options at the meeting that would come at no cost to the city.

The second option would reassign two existing sworn positions from other programs to be assigned to the two high schools as School Resource Officers.

Option three would create a school liaison program with police for traffic enforcement and security. Option four would continue collaborating with San Juan Unified's Safe Schools Program.

The city said readjusting existing sworn police positions would be a challenge because it would take away officers from existing assignments.

The Citrus Heights City Council will discuss the four options at their meeting Wednesday at 6 p.m.

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