Public Safety

County to Revive, Expand School Safety, Truancy Officer Programs

A dozen school districts in unincorporated parts of San Diego County will soon have School Resource Officers and Truancy Intervention Probation Officers on school campuses, following a vote by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

Eight new San Diego County Sheriff’s Department school resource officers will be assigned to high schools in nine districts and three new truancy intervention Probation officers will be assigned to three K-8 districts in unincorporated-area communities, from Julian and Borrego Springs to Fallbrook, La Mesa and Spring Valley. The officers are expected to be on campus this fall.

“School Resource Officers have been on San Diego school campuses for 20 years and the program has been extremely successful,” said Chairman Bill Horn. “It is high time all unincorporated-area schools enjoy the same opportunities to curb teenage delinquency and build positive relationships.”

Supervisor Jacob added that campus security is important to everyone and that every parent expects that their child will be safe at school.

“Our region, unfortunately, has been no stranger to campus violence and we need to do all we can to keep our campuses secure,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “Parents need to know their kids are not only learning while in the classroom, but that they are safe.”

County supervisors voted Tuesday to help fund school officers in the unincorporated areas of the County as part of the “School Safety Initiative,” introduced in June by Chairman Horn and Supervisor Jacob.

The Board of Supervisors approved allocating $1.8 million for the Sheriff’s officers in the 2015-2016 school year. The Sheriff’s Department will negotiate cost sharing agreements with the districts for future school years.

The supervisors also approved agreements with the districts for the Truancy Intervention Probation officers. In these agreements, the County will provide the officers to the districts this year. The districts would fund the position in future years based on recovered state funding from getting chronically truant kids back in school.

Sheriff’s school resource officers help create safe campuses and neighborhoods by reinforcing friendly interaction between teens and law enforcement and offering early intervention when it comes to drug and gang activity. Truancy intervention probation officers work with chronically truant students and their families and youth displaying other at-risk behaviors to try to address underlying issues and prevent more serious offenses.

The Truancy Intervention Program dates back to 1988 and served eight districts at its height. But many schools could no longer continue the program due to budget cuts during the recession. Tuesday’s action will restore Truancy Intervention Probation Officers to two East County districts—Cajon Valley and La-Mesa Spring Valley school districts—and add it for the first time to Lakeside Union.

Currently, Sheriff’s School Resource Officers serve 16 schools in five districts, but only four of the schools are in unincorporated areas. Tuesday’s action will add service to 21 unincorporated-area high schools.

Districts getting new School Resource Officers: Ramona Unified, Julian Union, Mountain Empire Unified, Grossmont Union (Steele Canyon Charter High School), Borrego Springs Unified, Valley Center-Pauma Unified, Warner Unified, Fallbrook Union, and Vista Unified.

Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact