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Cops on Campus coming to Ripon elementary schools

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POSTED January 17, 2013 1:00 a.m.

RIPON — Ripon Police are stepping up their presence at elementary school campuses.

Ripon Police Chief Ed Ormonde said the department will begin having patrol officers on elementary school campuses later this month. The program, “Cops on Campus,” will periodically put patrol officers on each elementary school site in between calls for service and other patrol related duties.

The development of the program was taking place prior to the Sandy Hook school shootings in Newton, Conn., that killed 26 students and teachers.

In November of last year police administration met with both the public and private school districts in Ripon to discuss the idea of having a greater officer presence on each of the elementary school campuses, and was later followed up with meetings with each school site administration.

The program is designed to have patrol officers visiting all of the elementary school campuses, both at the public and private schools.  The planned officer visits will vary on dates and times, but will occur during each campus’ “free time,” such as recess and lunch breaks.

The Cops on Campus program is designed to have a variety of officers interacting with the community’s younger youth, and school staff during school hours. In addition, the officer’s presence will provide an extra layer of security for each campus, as officers will be utilizing marked patrol vehicles and be in uniform.

One major benefit of keeping the program patrol based rather than assigning just one officer to be in the program, is that the knowledge base and relationships with school staff members would be spread department wide.

The Cops on Campus program will officially start on Jan. 23, which coincides with a new staff work schedule.  The new work schedule allows this program to be self sufficient, and will not require additional work or overtime hours by officers to implement.

Manteca starts similar effort

On Tuesday, the Manteca Police Department started sending two reserve officers to visit each of the 13 Manteca Unified School District elementary schools that feed into Manteca, Sierra, and East Union high schools. They intend to do that every day that school is in session.

The effort was in response to safety concerns following the fatal shooting at Sandy Hook School.

Police Chief Nick Obligacion said the reception the officers received “was phenomenal.”

Obligacion discussed the new incentive briefly during Tuesday’s Manteca City Council meeting.

The program has been launched with some funding made available to the department. There are no city funds employed. Obligacion is in contact with various service clubs that have expressed in partnering with the police department in a bid to enhance community safety. Obligacion is hopeful some of the clubs will help the endeavor.

The police may every effort to stay as visible a possible as marked patrol units are parked in front of the school when an officer visits.

The program is a take-off on the department’s highly successful school resource officer program that has had a full-time police officer for a number of years at the Manteca, East Union, and Sierra high school campuses. Officers have been credited with helping reduce crime in and around campuses as well as building strong working relationship with teens.

The high school officers in the past have gone to feeder schools when needed.

Ripon Police have a similar school resource officer program.

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