The Palm Springs Unified School District Board of Education approved new contracts to bring school resource officers (SROs) back to campuses. The decision was made during a board meeting on Tuesday night.
The program has been temporarily suspended as the district evaluated how to improve interactions between officers and students.
“The way we were doing things in Palm Springs really hadn’t caught up with where we should be or where we could be,” said Mike Swize, Ed.D., Palm Springs Unified School District's Superintendent of Schools.
The district says they’ve restructured officer training, the selection process and the costs involved.
The new contracts will eventually bring officers back to high school campuses in Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs.
Some say their return can’t come soon enough. Last month, parents expressed concern over the suspended program after a student at Desert Hot Springs High School was captured on video chasing other students with a knife in hand.
News Channel 3 spoke with Desert Hot Springs’ mayor and police chief after. “Hopefully we’ll be able to alleviate some of what’s going on through the SRO program,” said Chief Jim Henson.
Meanwhile, SRO programs in other valley cities have gained recent recognition. Earlier this month, Sheriffs in Palm Desert said, “deputies took immediate action and worked with district security” during a stabbing at a high school football game. They added in a statement: “Fortunately, we have an active school resource officers program.”
Over at La Quinta High School, just last week, a man jumped the fence onto school property. The district says their school resource officer helped “to stop the intruder and prevent him from entering the main campus.”
What’s next in the process for Palm Springs Unified?
Cathedral City and Rancho Mirage city councils have approved the new contracts as well. The district is now waiting on Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs. A PSUSD spokesperson says Palm Springs is expected to review the proposed contract this week on Thursday. The spokesperson added the district expects SROs to be back on all campuses very soon.