Tehachapi schools are one step closer to having a school resource officer on its campuses this year.
The Tehachapi City Council passed an amended agreement on Aug. 6 between the Tehachapi Unified School District, city of Tehachapi and Tehachapi Police Department for a school resource officer.
Now the agreement is to go before the school board for final approval on Aug. 14 so the officer can once again visit the district’s schools. The previous contract expired June 30, 2018.
TUSD will reimburse TPD for 70 percent of the the SRO’s monthly salary and benefits and this reimbursement will be for a 10-month period.
This year, over the course of more than four months, the agreement was updated to include changes to contract language, insurance liability, and defined duties of the SRO. The insurance has been raised to $5 million as a precaution in the event any claims or damages occur while the SRO is performing duties on school property.
“The SRO is on all the school campuses enforcing laws, working with the students, mentoring students, a presence on the school campus, deterring crime and having a positive interaction with these students,” Tehachapi Police Chief Kent Kroeger said.
Only one officer will be assigned to visit six schools within the district. Officer John Vielma is slated to take over duties assigned such as providing assistance with drug intervention programs, being visible on school grounds and training school personnel.
Councilman Kenneth R. Hetge requested at the meeting that security cameras be installed at Tehachapi High School before the agreement is approved in order “to assist the TPD with SRO activities."
Mayor Pro-tem Susan Wiggins said there used to be grants for school safety, but this is not offered now, cameras are expensive and funds would need to be raised.
In other council business:
The Tehachapi Heritage League will hold the annual Basque Dinner from 3 to 9 p.m. Aug. 25 on Green Street. This event is open to the public.
The Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District submitted an application for the Tehachapi GranFondo taking place on Sept. 15 throughout downtown Tehachapi and surrounding areas. The event will be timed and feature routes ranging from 18 to 100 miles.
The application was passed pending fixing small errors found on the application, and a pending insurance policy.
Councilman Hetge also requested that information clarifying the procedure for “recalling any board member that may not be performing to the desires of the community.”
This was regarding the decision by the City Council to appoint two board members who volunteer their time to the TVRPD board.
City Attorney Tom Schroeter is looking into the procedure and will bring back a report to the board at a future meeting. A specific TVRPD board member was not mentioned.
Hetge also requested that the city attorney look into whether the city should give any monetary help to other governmental entities that do not follow the districting requirements the city now has to follow due to the California Voters Rights Act. This request was mainly in reference to the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District and TVRPD.
The City Council agreed to table the issue and bring it back up in one month.