Successful grant allows second police officer at BHS

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

After some 15 years of success with having a Ridgecrest police officer on campus at Burroughs High School in the capacity of school resource officer, a joint effort between the Sierra Sands Unified School District and the Ridgecrest Police Department won a grant to support a second officer.

“Our intent is to be proactive,” said David Ostash, BHS principal. “This grant is a result of interagency effort. The school district and RCPD submitted the grant together and succeeded in winning the grant to support a second SRO.

“The program has shown itself to be successful. This has definitely built relationships in several ways — among adults in positions of leadership within the city and the district — and has also built very valuable relationships between students and the police, city and the district.

“Ultimately, it’s all about safety. It’s not a reaction to anything. It’s to continue the successful program that has been going the last 15 years and to bolster our effort in being solicitous of student input, being accessible and available to them.”

The current SRO, Lisa Franco, is visible on campus in her RCPD uniform.

“This allows the students to learn she is a resource for them, not against them. This also allows them to feel comfortable in talking to her. If any student has concerns, they can talk to school officials and they can talk to Officer Franco,” said Ostash.

“The proactive effort we’ve made in being successful on the grant shows we’ve made an investment. To be able to add one more resource officer is taking our existing effort to the next level. We can continue the high level of safety we have come to expect and appreciate.”

Has he seen students become interested in possibly pursuing a career in police work as a result?

“My observation is yes, I have. The police department operates the Explorers Program on campus. Students come up regularly to Officer Franco and ask about the program. Those already in the Explorers ask her about when the next meeting is or what the next project will be.

“Because of her accessibility, those who want to be Explorers and those who already are Explorers feel free to talk to her.”

Story First Published: 2013-12-04