The Role Of The San Diego Unified Police Department
Speaker 1: 00:00 A movement to defend the San Diego unified school districts police department is formed locally. It's similar to efforts in other cities in California and elsewhere to get police officers out of schools yesterday, the state superintendent held a hearing with the legislators, police organizations, advocacy groups, and researchers on the impact of police in schools, assembly woman, Shirley Weber, who represents the San Diego area was one of those who participated in that hearing. Speaker 2: 00:27 Yeah. I served for eight years as a school board member. And so I want to just simply let you know that I've seen some excellent examples of what happens in schools when there are no police officers there. And when that happens is Julie because the leadership of the school takes control a little bit school, and I trusted messengers by the kids. They believe in the leadership of the school. Speaker 1: 00:47 He made a discuss the related challenge to police presence in schools is San Diego unified school police, chief Michael Marquez, chief Marquez. Welcome to midday edition. Thank you for having me. Well first, what is the role of your department, uh, on San Diego unified school campuses? What do they do? Speaker 2: 01:03 You know, we, we play a major role in the security of our schools. We have a number of security issues that face our schools on a daily basis. You know, some examples of that are, you know, we've handled about a thousand threats of violence. Um, and the last five years, 50 of those were threats of, of mass shootings, um, you know, at our schools. And so, you know, first and foremost, you know, our role is to protect our children. Um, and that's the number one reason why we exist. Um, so in addition to those threats, um, you know, we are, uh, another important role that we play is investigating, you know, uh, reports of, of human trafficking. You know, I mean, that is something that, uh, that is very, very close to my heart in terms of making sure that we're doing everything we can to protect our kids. And I think we have heard so many horror stories about, you know, children across our nation, um, who have become victims of human trafficking. Uh, it, it certainly requires that we pay very, very close attention and that we're investigating every single report of that. Speaker 1: 02:14 Your department is 41 sworn officers serving some 200 schools. How do you decide how to deploy officers in school? Speaker 2: 02:21 So we did we deploy officers, um, uh, utilizing a cluster model in our, in our view, every high school is a cluster and we make sure that we have staff assigned, um, throughout our entire district. So we have about 18 clusters here at San Diego unified, and we make sure that we have an officer assigned, uh, to each, each and every one of those. And we, um, so not only do we perform, uh, the service of providing security at the high schools, but also middle schools and elementary schools Speaker 1: 02:50 And research has shown the interactions with school. Police can have disproportionately negative outcomes for black and Latino students. How does your department, the impact it's having on certain communities within the school district? Speaker 2: 03:03 Well, you know, I think that that's an, that's an important fact for us to continuously work through. And I think that speaks to how important it is, especially for me the leader of this police department, to make sure that we're hiring the right people to work in a school environment. We screen every single applicant. We make sure that the people that we're, that we're bringing into this environment, um, actually want to work with schools. That's very, very important because our kids require should get the best service that we can provide them. And, and so I'm always looking for people that have, you know, coaching experience working with use or pastors, uh, working with youth. And there are times where our vacancies will remain vacant until we can find the right person to work in those environments. Speaker 1: 03:52 And I wanted to ask about specifics and data, uh, on the race of students that you have negative interactions with say arrests, uh, how do you break those down regarding race, Speaker 2: 04:03 Every arrest or detention? I shouldn't say detention. Um, since we're talking about children, we do memorialize, um, that, uh, in the form of, of reports. Um, and it's something that we is, is ultimately captured. And we do have that. We are, we do have that available to us. Yeah. Speaker 1: 04:20 And the officers are uniformed in the schools, right? Speaker 2: 04:24 Our officers are uniformed in our schools and we do drive black and white police cars. We are a fully accredited police department. All of our officers go through the same type of police Academy that you would find a municipal police officer going through. We have all the same type of trainings. Uh, in fact, uh, one thing that I think is important for us to understand is that, you know, all of our officers who work in an educational environment are expected to have specialized training. So we understand that our children's brains are still developing. It's important that we understand that as this it's important that we have restorative justice training, that we have training regarding human trafficking and internet crimes against children, um, that we understand what autism awareness is and what ProAct training is. And so all of our officers that work here at this department of San Diego unified are expected to have that training so that we can better understand the students that we're working with. Our officers understand what IEP is are, and what five Oh four is, are in special education. That's so important for us to understand so that when we're responding to a school for a call for service, that we can, um, make sure that we're putting our best foot forward and that we're putting kids first and that we're working with every one of our school departments and our communities to make sure that our children are getting the best service that they need Speaker 1: 05:43 Because of past interactions with police or witnessing negative interactions with police black and Brown students may be uncomfortable and uneasy around police, not just school police, police in general. How does your department address that that's is that to, you Speaker 2: 05:58 Know, our officers reflect the diversity of our students. Um, our, our police department is majority minority, 59%, you know, and they're, and they're led by Hispanic chief of police. Um, so that's something that's, that's important for us to all understand because, you know, we are the community we do come from our community. Some of our officers have graduated from San Diego unified. So I think that's important to know. And you mentioned protection against mass shootings. Of course, that's been in the news headlines, unfortunately for many years now, uh, research is inconclusive on the effectiveness of officers on campus to prevent mass shootings. What does your department do in terms of preventing mass shootings and training there? So we take a very, very proactive role in that we have a safe school unit that works with each and every one of our school administrators and our communities to make sure that our comprehensive safe school plans are updated each and every year, um, in accordance with state law. Speaker 2: 06:55 Um, we're also very, very much involved in training to make sure that our staff knows how to respond to those types of crisis. Um, and so that's, that's very, very important for, for all of us to understand is that, you know, we take those types of things very, very seriously, and we want to make sure that our not only our officers, but our staff are prepared to respond to those types of situations. And there's a workshop with the school board later this month, hear from students on issues of racial justice and inequity. Uh, one of the topics includes how to prevent discriminatory practices related to student discipline. What's your department's role in the workshop going to be well again, good question. And I'm really excited because we're going to w we plan to be a part of the conversation. Um, and I think it really speaks volumes about how our district handles these types of things. Speaker 2: 07:47 We're looking forward to participating in the workshop and being a part of the conversation down the road. And what kind of changes you might see as possibilities for your department, the following that, that workshop and this kind of interaction. Well, I will say that, uh, you know, I mean, there's so much conversation right now, nationally about this topic. Um, and there's so many different stories that are surfacing, uh, there's so much reform that has taken place. And, and I'd like to say that, you know, we're, we're a part of that. Um, you know, we have already banned some, uh, the carotid restraint. We've already adopted a can't wait. Um, we've already updated our policies regarding the use of force. And so I think we're, we're, we're already in line and in alignment with the vision of this district and with the vision of law enforcement in this County. And then we plan on continuing that type of work. You know, we're law enforcement is always willing to listen and now's the time to take action. I've been speaking with Michael Marquez, chief of the San Diego unified schools, police department. Thanks very much, Michael. Thank you, sir. Speaker 3: 08:58 [inaudible].