Batts’ plan is to hire 24 police officers and to assign them to four Oakland middle schools: Frick, Madison, Roosevelt and Westlake.
Officer Jeff Thomason, a public information officer for the police department, said four of the six officers at each school would provide security, and that two would serve as mentors and run the O.K. Program for gang and violence prevention.
“Basically, we want to start our community policing model at those schools,” Thomason said.
Troy Flint, a spokesman for the Oakland school district, said the officers would help to protect students as they go to and from school, a major safety concern that contributes to truancy.
“This is the type of partnership we’re looking to develop with other government agencies,” Flint said.
Thomason said the $6 million would cover the program for one year. What happens the year after that? Why not put three officers at each school, instead of six, and make the money go twice as long?
Thomason said he didn’t know. He said it was likely the chief and the schools superintendent thought that six officers were needed at each school, and that they didn’t want to shortchange the students.
What do you think about this idea? Do you think it will keep students safer? Keep more of them from joining gangs or becoming victims or perpetrators of violence? Will it lead to a better relationship between the kids and the police?