The San Benito High School Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution Sept. 14 to renew the district’s agreement with the Hollister Police Department to provide police services on campus for three years beginning Oct. 1. Under the agreement, a police officer will serve as the School Resource Officer (SRO) to work exclusively for the district to provide for the safety of students, staff and visitors to the campuses and surrounding areas, and to work in cooperation to reduce the frequency of violence, gang crime and drug activity.
Carlos Reynoso, Hollister chief of police, said the prior contract had expired and the new agreement will continue the program at the high school.
BenitoLink confirmed that neither HPD nor the San Benito County Sheriff’s Department provides SROs to any other schools in the city nor any schools outside of Hollister, including Anzar High School.
“The Hollister Police Department has had a successful SRO program with the high school for several years and we look forward to continuing the partnership,” he said. “We believe it is a positive program to have an officer on campus that not only deals with any required reporting but also helps provide for the general safety of the students, the campus and serves as a resource to our high school community.”
Reynoso said the required reports would include crimes that occur on school property, including vandalism, theft, burglary, assault and fighting, trespassing minor infractions and crimes or any incident the school would like to document.
“Our SRO will only document law enforcement matters,” he said. “Any other matters are documented by school staff as part of their inner disciplinary policy.”
Under the agreement, the SRO will serve the district exclusively unless there is an extreme emergency elsewhere. The SRO will be chosen by Reynoso in consultation with SBHS Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum and will serve a minimum of one year.
“I look forward to our continued partnership with the Hollister Police Department and law enforcement in general,” Tennenbaum said.
The district will pay the city of Hollister $253,650 over three years. The amount is approximately half the cost of salary and benefits for one police officer, excluding overtime expenses. Payments of $42,275 on or before Dec. 1 and June 1 of each of the three years.
“SROs receive additional training that involves becoming more familiar with the California Education Code and participate in an annual conference and training for SROs from across the state (California School Resource Officers’ Association),” Reynoso said.
Reynoso added that the Hollister School District cancelled the SRO program for the elementary schools in July 2020. “[Former HSD superintendent] Diego Ochoa claimed it was because of COVID and financial issues. We have not discussed this any further with the interim or current superintendent,” he said.
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