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January 27, 2022

Letter: School officers provide positive role models for students

It saddens me to read that our Councilman Zach Hilton wants to try to eliminate our SRO (School Resource Officer) from our Gilroy schools. There may be other cities that don’t have an SRO due to budget cuts or lack of support from the community. Councilman Hilton, we are not like other cities. We have community members that support our police department and who want what is best for our schools and students.

Having an SRO on campus is not about color or race. It is about trying to keep our young adults safe and educating them on true life matters not garbage you are speaking about. Our small community needs our police department and we don’t need you to try and cause division.

Councilman Hilton, here are a few positive reasons why an SRO is needed and effective on our Gilroy campuses. The SRO builds relationships with our students and staff. The SRO allows the young adults to have a connection with our police officers and gives the staff and students the feeling of a safe and secure campus. They provide another set of ears which will give the students the opportunity to talk about issues, concerns or situations going on at school or home with someone they can trust. The SRO works closely with GUSD.  

The SRO position handles many calls on campus that are generated by the school administration. The school calls the police department for a variety of investigative needs which include fighting, illegal narcotics on campus, weapons on campus, vandalism to school property, theft and suicidal students.

In nearly all cases, the SRO actions (providing citations, not jail) are a direct result of the school administration requests for law enforcement action. The SRO is not proactively looking to take students to juvenile hall to create this “school to prison pipeline” or targeting students of color like Councilman Hilton believes. Councilman Hilton apparently feels that the money spent on an SRO would be better invested on mental health staff; well the SRO will/can connect the students with mental health services.

Councilman Hilton is clearly anti-law enforcement. Hilton campaigned for raising the LGBTQ flag over City Hall this year. However, when I asked him to support me on the Thin Blue Line flag for the month of May in honor of Law Enforcement, I was told he was too busy with “legislative action” and would not honor my request.

Councilman Hilton, you really need to be better informed/educated on what the SRO does before you advise what you call a “bold decision.” It appears that you are not looking out for the community, you are trying to cause division between law enforcement and the community. We can do without this type of leadership in this town.

Kim Sullivan


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