by Timothy Rutt
Altadena Sheriff Capt. John S. Benedict told the town council Tuesday night that he was going to meet with school district officials Friday to discuss stationing a school resource officer in Altadena.
Motivated in part by the recent wave of gang-related shootings in Altadena and Pasadena, and the shootings of school children in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, Benedict told the council that he was looking for the community's help to encourage the district to station a school resource deputy at Eliot Middle School, who would be available to the elementary schools as well.
Benedict plans to meet with Pasadena Unified School District Director of Child Welfare, Attendence, and Safety Eric Sahakian on Friday to make the case. Benedict said that some schools in Pasadena already had resource officers in place.
Benedict told the council that a school resource officer has special skills and training, and his or her major job would be "building relationships and trust with students," and providing programs on safety, leadership, ethics, and building a better community.
Benedict told Altadenablog that a school resource officer would cost $158,000 a year, with the cost of salary, benefits, training and a vehicle. It would be a "contract item" with the Pasadena Unified School District, Benedict said, where the district would contract with the sheriff's department for the deputy. Benedict said that sometimes such officers were funded by grants or other outside source funding.
"Eliot is our primary middle school, and a feeder to the Pasadena high schools," Benedict told Altadenablog. "That would be home base, but he or she would be responsible for covering the base, and the elementaries, and Focus Point Academy."
Benedict said that Eliot Principal Lorena Martinez said that the school could provide the required office space for the officer.