Lindsay moves to place officer on campuses
Resident calls move a 'Gestapo' tactic
Despite accusations of “Gestapo”-like tactics by resident Gerard Samulski, the City Council voted to approve the use of $100,000 for a full-time School Resource Officer (SRO) for the Lindsay Unified School District.
City Manager Rich Wilkinson said the officer would “provide safety and security on campuses.”
He added that it was his intent and hope to have the council approve the waiver, have the officer stationed at the high school, and have him/her visit campuses every day.
Samulski explained his opposition to having an officer on school campus and compared it to the reign of Adolf Hitler and the Gestapo.
“Ridiculous. I don’t see any reason to have armed guards in the high school. All it does is terrorize children,” said Samulski who pointed out that if there was trouble on the campus the kids should call 9-1-1.
One proponent, Suzzane Terrill, who works for the LUSD, spoke about how kids want the officer.
“Our students see the officer as someone they want to emulate,” said Terrill, who added that through various school surveys they had asked for an SRO.
Another LUSD employee, Karen Dixon, who has 20 years of experience in education and is the Director of Research and Evaluation, talked about the importance of having a safe environment for the students to reach their potential.
“The importance of a safe environment is fundamental,” said Dixon.
Tulare County Judge and former mayor of Lindsay Valeriano Saucedo talked about his time as a juvenile judge and made a final point.
“Having an officer on campus is key to preventing violence,” said Saucedo.
Council member Ramona Villarreal-Padilla wanted to know how long it would take to have an officer on campus.
Wilkinson replied that it would be this year if approved.
Mayor Pro Tem Esteban Velasquez clarified that the money would be a two-year fund for one sworn officer.
Padilla talked about working for 10 years with Lindsay Healthy Start and getting first-hand knowledge. She also added that her kids felt safe and thought it was a good idea.
Velasquez, who works for Corcoran Unified, added that they have an officer and that he is beneficial.
“Students are more attentive to items. He’s invaluable to the campus,” said Velasquez.
The council then approved the resolution unanimously with Mayor Ed Murray and Councilwoman Pam Kimball absent.
The city will apply to the State Community Block Grant for a waiver that will allow it to use the $100,000 to hire the officer. The money will come from a business assistance revolving loan.