Rialto City Council approves amendment to remove school resource officers from schools until in-person classes reinstated

Rialto Police Department removed three school resource officers from Rialto Unified School District high school and middle school campuses until such time that in-person instruction resumes. Pictured is Rialto Police Chief Mark Kling.

On September 8, Rialto City Council approved an amendment to the memorandum of understanding between Rialto Police Department (RPD) and Rialto Unified School District (RUSD) to remove three school resource officers from the high school and middle schools in the city.

This amendment has been brought forth amidst the virtual learning that is currently taking place and will be reinstated once classes are held in person.

“RPD staff met with members of RUSD who requested that we suspend the memorandum of understanding contract and transfer it to a semester by semester basis,” said Mark Kling, chief of police. “This will result in us having to re-deploy the school resource officers back into our patrol force until students begin meeting on campus again.”

RPD remained on RUSD campuses through the month of August to assist school administrators acclimate to the transition of no longer having school resource officers readily available.

The adjustment will also result in a loss of revenue to the police department, and require them to adjust the mid-year budget.

“The issue is that the school district does pay some of the offset for the three school resource officers. There will be a negative impact to the revenue budget. It was initially set for $155,000, but the district is only going to have to pay for the month of July, which costs $12,916,” continued Kling.

“At this point, if school remains online, we’ll have to make a budget adjustment at mid-year for $142,083. If schools open next spring, then we’ll meet with the district and reinstate the contract going forward,” Kling said.

During discussion, Mayor Deborah Robertson supported the motion, but recommended to Kling that RPD generate a public service announcement to assist the community in better understanding the benefits and need of school resource officers.

“Maybe during this period it would be helpful if we create a public service announcement that explains what role and benefit school resource officers play to support the school district. I don’t think many in the community understand the reason why we have officers supporting the school district,” said Robertson.

Kling shared that the school resource officers are contracted with the district and placed on campus to ensure the safety of students, faculty and administrators. “School resource officers are police officers that we place on the campus for educational processes. Being on campus is beneficial because it integrates law enforcement with students, so that they develop better relationships. But more importantly, our department has the ability to enforce laws that campus security does not. We also assist teachers and administrators with truancies, traffic control, sporting events and graduations. I’ll be happy to put this out in a public service announcement,” concluded Kling.