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The following article was posted on May 18th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 11 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 19, Issue 11

School resource deputy position reinstated at San Marcos High School

By KASEY BUBNASH

There’s a new deputy on campus at San Marcos High School.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office announced on May 11 that Deputy Jaycee Hunter will serve as the school’s new school resource deputy. The decision came just three days after the Santa Barbara Unified School District voted to fund the campus law enforcement position on May 8.


LAW LIASON
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jaycee Hunter was chosen to serve as San Marcos High School’s school resource deputy after an internal recruitment process, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
PHOTO COURTESY OF SANTA BARBARA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Hunter, a San Marcos High School graduate himself, worked with the Santa Barbara Police Department for years before joining the Sheriff’s Office. As a deputy, he patrolled the area around San Marcos High after the school lost its resource deputy, and said it often felt like he was constantly on campus.

“There are a lot of the more minor things the patrol force simply can’t do because there aren’t the resources for it,” Hunter told the Sun. “But with a resource deputy on campus, every issue can be handled in a timely and careful manner.”

Since his initial trial hire in April, Hunter said he has already investigated four mandatory reporting incidents. One led to a recent arrest.

“I’m able to serve the kids and the administrators and the teachers by giving them immediate access to any law enforcement need that may exist,” Hunter said, “and that need varies greatly.”

San Marcos High School lost its school resource deputy position just before the start of this school year, when the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors announced it could no longer fund the position. The announcement left San Marcos without the constant law enforcement presence available at every other high school in the Santa Barbara Unified School District and most other high schools in the county.

After several Santa Barbara County schools faced violent student threats in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting on Feb. 14, parents and community members rallied and petitioned in support of reinstating the school’s resource deputy position.

A school resource deputy or officer—a sworn law enforcement official employed by the Santa

Barbara County Sheriff’s Office or city police department to provide security on select school grounds—is one of many ways schools can partner with local public safety officials to ensure a safe campus, according to Lauren Bianchi Klemann, public information officer for the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

And while the Santa Barbara Unified School District board of education did consider other options, Klemann said many community members wanted to see a resource deputy back at San Marcos.

Klemann said the district’s general fund will support the position until the end of fiscal year 2018-19, which begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2019.* Because many community members also expressed concerns about school resource deputies racially targeting students of color and increasing fears of law enforcement on campus, Klemann said the new resource deputy will be required to participate in district trainings, which include a course on implicit bias.

Kelly Hoover, public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office, said the office is thrilled to serve San Marcos High School once again. The Sheriff’s Office now has four school resource deputies at schools around the county, providing safety and security services.

“The school resource deputy position is also really important because it’s an impression of law enforcement,” Hoover told the Sun. “It’s students getting to interact with a deputy in a positive way.”

*Editor's note: This story was edited to correct the fiscal year for which the position is funded.




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