The city is considering cutting the funds needed to station a police officer at its schools from next year’s budget, which has undergone more than $1 million in cuts already, a move that comes as a tough blow following a recent hate crime at Oceana High School.
Cutting school resource Officer Bill Glasgo, who is typically based at Oceana and Terra Nova high schools with some rotations to elementary and middle schools, would force the police department to be creative with its outreach to students, officials said.
“We’d definitely lose some of the contact that Bill was able to make,” police Capt. Jim Tasa said.
Officials have recommended that more than $260,000 worth of lifelines to agencies like the Peninsula Library System, the Chamber of Commerce and the Pacifica Resource Center be cut from the 2007-08 budget, according to Interim City Manager Bill Norton.
Although the City Council last week approved the budget, which came with approximately $1.5 million in cuts, it meets again Monday to discuss and possibly approve these additional program cuts.
Only three of the five council members were present at the meeting last week, during which a number of personnel consolidations and cuts were approved. The city decided to wait on making further cuts until the full council could give its stamp of approval to the cost-cutting measures.
“It’s up to the council at this point,” Norton said. “But staff feels this is the best way to keep our budget in good shape going into next year.”
Tasa said Glasgo’s constant presence in the schools often helped police nip school crime in the bud, because students over the last four years had come to trust him and start giving him crime tips. Glasgo was unavailable for comment before the Fourth of July holiday.
Tasa said the police department is remaining optimistic that the council will not cut the program, particularly in light of the recent crime at Oceana.
In late April, Oceana High was the stage for what officials considered a major hate crime that included setting fire to school property, a bomb threat and offensive graffiti peppered with swastikas, white supremacy messages and homophobic slurs scrawled on campus walls.
Pacifica residents Robert Anthony Polk, Jr. and Daniel Joseph Walsh, both 20, were arrested in April in connection with the crime and are awaiting trial, according to Tasa.