By Susan Motander
For the last few years Officer James Ruano has served as the School Resource Officer (SRO) to Monrovia Unified School District (MUSD). Ruano brought his own special touch to the position bridging together the resources of the Monrovia Police Department (MPD) and MUSD. But the assignment is designed as a temporary one and at the end of the school year he will be reassigned.
A new SRO has been appointed: Officer Thomas Montes. He has already worked closely with many of the District’s site administrators, according to a press release from the school district.
“Officer Montes has been a wonderful support to Monrovia Unified schools in his career as an officer, and he has responded to calls from various schools to provide support and guidance during difficult situations,” said Jennifer Jackson, Clifton Middle School principal. “He is a professional, calm, and a wonderful asset to students and their families, and we are excited for him to serve as our new school resource officer.”
Montes has been with MPD since 2006. According to Chief of Police Alan Sanvictores, “He started working with us after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.”
This does not mean to imply that he is inexperienced. Sanvictores said that one of “his biggest assets to the department is his 10-year military experience.”
He explained that Montes served in the Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom as a part of the 113th Medical Company that specializes in Combat Stress. While deployed in Iraq, he was a sergeant with a behavior specialist background. His job was not only to help the wounded, but also to help soldiers deal with combat stress—better known as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Montes lives in the San Gabriel Valley and is active in his community. Married with two children, he has coached his sons’ baseball little league as well as volunteered at their schools.
According to Sanvictores, Montes looks forward to putting into practice his social behavior specialty while working as the SRO.
“We are excited to welcome Officer Thomas Montes to Monrovia Unified,” Superintendent Katherine Thorossian said. “We are positive that he will provide excellent support to our schools and to our students.”
Echoing these sentiments the chief said: “Officer Montes not only has the deep dedication and desire to serve our community, but also has valuable experience as a Monrovia Police officer and an Army veteran with experience as a mental health professional. Our community and the Monrovia School District will greatly benefit from Officer Montes as our next School Resource Officer.”
Officer Ruano has not disappeared completely. For those of you who have become comfortable speeding since Officer Mead’s retirement from motorcycles, beware. Once Ruano has completed his farewell visits to all the MUSD schools, and classes have ended for the year, he will begin his new assignment as the vehicle safety motorcycle officer for MPD. Be extra careful. Not only will school age children be out on the streets, but their old friend will be making sure they are safe.