FRESNO, California (KSEE) – The question of school resource officers is the reason why Fresno Unified and Fresno State’s Department of Sociology created a survey to ask the publics’ opinion on the issue.
Professor Andrew Jones, who worked on the survey, said the department was asked to help Fresno Unified with this type of poll because they helped the city out with the Fresno Police Commission survey held last year.
“Getting public input on what they think the effectiveness is of SROs [school resource officers] and whether the board should renew contracts or consider alternatives to having SRO’s on campus,” said Jones.
Jones said they are only asking a select group of students and their parents, along with the school resource officers themselves.
Ashley Rojas with Fresno Barrios Unidos believes removing some resource officers and instead investing in preventative measures will go a long way.
“Ways we are not just responding to crisis, but we are actually fostering communities that are supportive and nurturing for our young people,” said Rojas. =
Rojas said this has been a growing trend up and down the state of California. Recently Los Angeles Unified School District cut one-third of their SRO budget.
Rojas said Fresno Unified should follow suit.
“It’s not about getting rid of cops and that’s it. It’s more about building up the social and emotional support the clinical and behavioral support that young people need and about building culturally responsive schools,” said Rojas.
However, others believe having an on-site officer is a requirement.
Jordan Wamhoff with the Fresno Police Officers Association said if there is an emergency on campus – an officer is there within seconds.
“If there is an actual emergency: 911, active shooter, you have someone who is trained, armed, and they took that position,” said Wamhoff.
Wamhoff was a school officer at a middle school for several years. He said the relationships and trust he built with students go a long way.
“So, it really gives them an opportunity to humanize officers and interact with them,” said Wamhoff.