California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 26

Patrol Officers Adopt Schools Officer Sara Alanis gets a high-five from a young Morgan Hill resident at National Night Out. Another initiative aimed at supporting Morgan Hill’s youth is a staffing change made this year. Traditionally, the department had two school resource officers, each based at one of the Morgan Hill high schools. This year one school resource officer position from each high school was reassigned to patrol. This modification freed up time in the schedules of all patrol officers giving them the opportunity to “adopt” a school of their own. During the course of the week officers visit their school as often as possible, interacting with parents, teachers, and students and providing a positive role model for the students. Reaction to this change from the schools has been extremely well received. Patrick Buchser, principal of Jackson Academy of Mathematics and Music states “Without a doubt, having an officer visit frequently has been a big benefit to our school.” Buchser continues, “The role of a police officer is becoming demystified. Some students have had negative encounters with law enforcement, but now they are discovering the police are here to protect, serve, and mentor them. After Sandy Hook, Corporal Scott Purvis and I visited every classroom to address student concerns and reassure them about our preparations for their safety.” Supporting Literacy Officer Scott Martin visits with young Morgan Hill residents and their parent while patrolling their neighborhood. Officer Greg Dini reads to a group of Morgan Hill students during the National Read Across America’s “Read In” 26 California Police Chief | www.californiapolicechiefs.org The Morgan Hill Police Department was also active in another project to support education and student success in the schools. In collaboration with the United Way, the Morgan Hill Unified School District, and several local nonprofit social service agencies, 9 officers were among the 82 community members who participated in the 2014 “Read-In.” March 4th was chosen as the date, which also coincides with Dr. Seuss’s birthday and the national Read Across America program. Volunteers visited every kindergarten through third grade classroom to tell the students a little bit about themselves and why reading is important to them. After sharing their personal stories, they read one of their favorite books to the entire class. Each volunteer signed the book and a special label was placed inside it before donating it to the classroom library. The School Board has hailed this event as “a true community effort that promoted the jo Hو