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Schools cut resource officer funds
Bricker vows to find ways to keep SROs in place
Positive interaction between police officers such as Jason Hensley – shown being thanked by Dominick Pisano after a recent presentation – is credited with building relationships critical to a proactive approach to crime fighting. - photo by Bulletin file photo
Manteca Unified is getting ready to end funding for school resource officers.

Police Chief Dave Bricker, though, noted that the police officers on campus are so effective at reducing gang violence as well as gathering gang intelligence that he vowed “one way or another we’ll figure out how to keep them.”

Manteca Unified leaders have told the city they will only fund 50 percent of the tab for the school resource officers in the fiscal year starting July 1. Then a year later they will drop all funding as of July 1, 2011.

Bricker told the City Council on Tuesday that the elementary school resource officer would be assigned but would still work with the schools. The three officers at Manteca High, Sierra High, and East Union High will remain in place.

It was unclear how that would impact the projected $3.8 million general fund deficit for the fiscal year starting July 1. That would depend if the projected budget deficit assumed the school district backing off on funding the positions.

Bricker credited the school resource officers with establishing “invaluable relations” with youth that have helped prevent a lot of trouble from erupting in the community after school between rival gangs.

City leaders have gone on record saying they would do everything possible to avoid reducing the level of police officers that exist now. The ranks of officers have been reduced by 12 layoffs in mid-October and several retirements.

The reorganization of resources means there are still as many officers on the street as there were before the cutbacks but less in specialized units such as traffic and detectives.

“If we get a call that requires an officer with a gun, they’ll be there,” Bricker said in noting the department’s No. 1 mission is still intact which is responding to imminent threat to life and property.