FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL: Cathedral City Police (760) 770-0300
Issuing Employee: Chief George Crum – (760) 770-0300
The Cathedral City Police Department’s School Resource Officer (SRO) program has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the Palm Springs Unified School District that dates back to 2000. Over the last two decades, Cathedral City Police Department has had a police officer assigned to meet the needs of students, staff, and visitors. An SRO is highly trained to assess and handle a multitude of issues that happen at school campuses. The Cathedral City Police Department SRO training includes a 40-hour P.O.S.T. approved SRO certification course, a 40-hour advanced SRO certification course through NASRO (National Association of School Resource Officers), 16 hours of crisis intervention training and 16 hours of training in Tactical Response to School/Community Violence. The officers selected for an SRO position with the Cathedral City Police Department are highly trained and capable of keeping our students, staff, and visitors safe on campus.
Our SROs handle a multitude of functions at schools, including providing a safe learning environment on campus, traffic issues, and pedestrian safety in and around schools. While law enforcement is one facet of an SRO duties, they also work as problem-solvers, ambassadors, mentors, and examples of public service. The SRO is an invaluable resource for students seeking advice. They assist school counselors, school nurses, and speak to parents regarding issues occurring with their child or children. In general, the SRO has daily contact with the campus community while building positive relationships and helping students reach their full potential.
The recent decision by the PSUSD to “defund” their School Resource Officer program is deeply concerning as it correlates to the safety of our local schools and the welfare of the students and staff in attendance. As your police chief with over 33 years of law enforcement experience, I oppose this decision by the school district to unilaterally “defund” the SRO program at school campuses before first ensuring proper safeguards are put in place and without fully engaging the district’s law enforcement partners to offer comments and suggestions. The school district did not reach out to their law enforcement stakeholders in a timely manner before making this potentially grave decision. There should be nothing more important to our community than protecting our children, who historically tend to be among the most vulnerable people in our community. In a recent study published by the FBI in May 2021, California leads the nation in active shooter incidents from 2000-2019. In this study, schools ranked third in the nation as likely targets of an active shooter. The presence of an SRO on a campus strongly mitigates potential harm to our children as they are highly trained officers ready and willing to actively protect our children and staff if the most unfortunate situation occurs, a potential deadly breach of security.
Mayor Raymond Gregory, the entire Cathedral City Council and I are committed to keeping Cathedral City a safe city for residents, businesses, and visitors. We will continue to be dedicated to the safety and security of this city, regardless of the school district’s decision. I implore the school district to reconsider their decision to remove the School Resource Officer from Cathedral City High School’s campus and instead initiate a dialogue with the local law enforcement community on how we can improve the current system and move forward as a unified team for the welfare of all.