By Hansol Hwang
The Monrovia School District Board of Education plans to discuss the continuation of the School Resource Officer Program in tonight’s meeting where a public vote will determine whether or not a new amendment to the program’s memorandum of understanding will be approved.
If the amendment to the memorandum between the City of Monrovia and the Monrovia Unified School District is approved, it will extend the School Resource Officer Program for another two years. The previous memorandum allowed the program to be active only one year at a time.
“I think it is a great program because it allows police officers to develop a relationship with the student body and the people in our community and it pays huge dividends later on,” Board Clerk Rob Hammond said. Both the city and the school board decided in a joint meeting this summer that a two-year program was better because they were satisfied with how the program was doing, Hammond said.
The Monrovia Unified School District currently has one resource officer that services all the schools in the district, Board President Terrence Williams said. “He is a good tool and an excellent source for our students and our parents,” Williams said.
Contrary to popular belief, the officer’s purpose is not solely for physical protection of the students but to establish a relationship between the student body and the police officers so that the officers are viewed in a favorable light because the officer becomes someone the students know and trust, Hammond said.
“Once you develop relationships with somebody it is much easier for people to have dialogue, so that is what we are concentrating on doing,” Hammond said. And dialogue is one of the ways the officer engages with the students, Williams said. It is the unfiltered dialogue that the officer has with the students that helps develop a relationship. But, when there is either an accident or incident the resource officer is the first one to be there, Williams said.
Check back for updates about the vote.