OFFICER LIAISON PROGRAM
1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.
A police officer working out of the Juvenile Unit of the Euclid Police Department, spends four of his eight hour shift in the High School. He is there at the High School with an office and is readily accessible to students, administration and teachers alike. He works closely with the school to ferret out any problems before they occur. He is there to be a school resource officer to look at things from a law enforcement perspective. He is also available and useful as a role model to the children of the high school. He has made valuable inroads in rapport with the students. Many students often come to him and confide in him on important issues. They also become a source of intelligence information in order for us to be proactive in preventing violence.
The second part of this structure involves the school system. They have hired a security force of security officers and put in place monitoring systems throughout the high school. They also have magnetometers which are portable and can be moved any new location to monitor contraband being brought into the high school.
2. When was the program created and why?
The Officer Liaison Program was started in 1990. Before this time the communications with the school system were somewhat deficient. This program was started as a way to share information, collect intelligence information and to have a resource for the schools. Another reason why the program got started was because of the new cooperative nature of the school system itself and the desire to be closer knit with the community and its Police Department. Initially there were some apprehensions about having a police officer in the high school. These apprehensions were quickly diminished as the officer became a cultural part of daily life at the high school.
The school security program began approximately in 1994 and has grown in its ability. It started because the school wished to be proactive in its approach to possible school violence. I can honestly say there was no incident or specific problem that caused the school to feel the need for this security measure. The school did not wish to be a statistic in the growing problems of school violence and took this proactive step.
3. How do you measure the program's effectiveness?
The first measure of the program's effectiveness was the increase in the amount of complaints and reports generated from the high school, In the past the high school handled all their problems "in-house" and there was no monitoring of situations in the high school by the Police Department. Often time the Police Department was completely ignored while the school faced difficult situations outside the criminal justice system. So you might say that the statistics increased rapidly with our intervention. However, this was no measure of the increase in problems, rather it was a measure of the lack of reported situations in the high school.
Having this new measurement we were able to see a decrease in the problems at our high school because now incidents were being reported. We also know that this particular measure thwarted a possible monumental violent situation. Intelligence information gathered from the Liaison Officer at the high school discovered that a student was planning to buy a firearm. A sting operation was created in which that student was arrested. This was the most violent situation reported over the years of the program and we can document the success of the Officer Liaison due to this intelligence information.
4. How is the program financed?
The Officer Liaison is paid for by the Euclid Police Department and the City of Euclid. The officer's salary is totally paid from General Fund money (operating funds) as part of his regular salary. He only works four hours of his eight-hour shift at the high school during the nine months that the high school is in session. In the summer months when high school is not in session the Officer Liaison works in the neighborhoods to join our Youth Task Force whose job it is to get to know the kids and provide the kids with resources on the streets.
The school system funds the security officers and the monitoring through their own General Fund.
5. How is the community involved in the program, if at all? How has the community responded to the program?
The community is involved with the program because the high school teachers,
administration and students are a part of our community. As a matter of fact the high school is a microcosm of the city itself. We do not, however, have the community involved in supporting the program. I don't believe the general populous understands or knows that there is an Officer Liaison Program, although most of the city realizes there is security in the schools.
The school community has responded to the program extremely well. The community outside the school is unaware of the Officer Liaison Program but wholeheartedly supports security measures presented by the high school, There are some naysayers who do not wish to see security in high schools but overall the majority opinion is that the Euclid school system is being proactive in dealing with possible school violence.
We have not made an effort to involve the community in supporting the Officer Liaison Program. Perhaps we could gather funds from the private sector to help support and finance the program. The schools are attempting to pass a levy to help them in their operating budgets. Unfortunately, they have been unsuccessful and my fear is that the security measures may dwindle.
6. Contact person:
The contact person for the Euclid Police Department is Det. Alan Bush of the Juvenile Unit. His address is 545 East 222nd Street, Euclid, OH 44123 and his phone number is (216) 2898419. His FAX number is (216) 289-8543. The contact person at the high school is Mr. Dennis Kehn and his phone number is (216) 261-2900, Ext. 2417. His address is 710 E. 222nd Street, Euclid, OH 44123. Mr, Kehn is the Director of Security for the Euclid High School.
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.