The Santa Clara Police Department plays an active role in keeping our schools safe.
School Services Unit
The School Services Unit provides an "immediate response" to the schools where an incident involving drugs, alcohol or tobacco use, gang activity, truancy, weapons, vandalism, theft, or violence has occurred on campus. The School Services Unit is also responsible for the Restorative Justice Program and Neighborhood Accountability Board, Drug Abuse Resistance Education, Adult Crossing Guard program, and School Safety Patrol program.
Restorative Justice Program
Officers also meet monthly with the volunteer members of the Restorative Justice Program and Neighborhood Accountability Board. These individuals take an active role in looking at juvenile crime throughout the city and handling it at the local level.
Drug Abuse Resistance Education
The D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program is part of our School Services Unit, which is made up of four police officers who serve as D.A.R.E./School Resource Officers and School Beat Officers. A Sergeant supervises the unit. These officers are specially trained to deal with school-related incidents. Every day they interact with Santa Clara Unified School District officials, school principals, teachers, staff, parents, and most importantly, the students.
The Police Department’s D.A.R.E. Program has a total of 17 schools receiving drug abuse prevention training. Our three School Resource Officers teach D.A.R.E. classes to every fifth grade student in the City of Santa Clara.
Over 1600 students received this training that teaches children to make the right choices on their own and help them to identify positive alternatives to drugs and violence. SCPD will continue to expand this imporant program for the Middle Schools in the Santa Clara Unified School District.
Adult Crossing Guard Program
The Adult Crossing Guard program has been a vital part of the Santa Clara Police Department since 1979. Today, thirty-two corners are staffed with an Adult Crossing Guard serving twelve Santa Clara Unified School District elementary schools.
Applications are available on the City website, City Hall, or at the Police Department. Competitive wages start at $12.28 per hour. Hours and locations vary. For more information contact the Adult Crossing Guard Coordinator Community Services Officer Karen Ashley (408) 615-4875 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
School Safety Patrol Program
The School Safety Patrol program was started in 1946 by the California State Automobile Association to ensure the safe crossing of children to and from school. Through the efforts of the Santa Clara Police Department, the California State Automobile Association, and thirteen Santa Clara public and private schools, the program has grown to over 450 fifth through eighth grade students.
The safety patrol program continues to be a vital part of promoting traffic safety around schools. The students in this program are actively involved in the control of the student body and traffic situations.
Every 15 Minutes
During 2004, the School Services Unit undertook a new program aimed at curbing drinking and driving among our high school students. Originally conceived in Chico in the 1990's, "Every 15 Minutes" is a two-day program to help prevent alcohol related incidents. The program focuses on high school students and challenges them to think about drinking, personal safety, and the responsibility of making mature decisions when lives are involved. The program's name was conceived from the fact that at that time, every 15 minutes someone in the United States dies in an alcohol-related traffic collision.
Two of our School Resource Officers (Officers Jake Malae and Tyson Green) devised and implemented our own version of Every 15 Minutes.
After months of meetings, countless hours of planning, and the solicitation of donations to cover the unbudgeted costs associated with the production of this complicated simulation, we were ready to go. The date for the program was set before the prom, so the message would still be fresh in the minds of those who might be tempted to go too far with their celebrating.
On Day One a costumed "Grim Reaper" removed a different pre-selected student from class every 15 minutes. A police officer then entered the classroom to read the "dead" student's obituary, as written by the student's parents. The student later returns to class as the "living dead," complete with white face makeup and a black T-shirt. For the rest of the day, the "dead" students did not speak or interact with the other students. It's as if they were not there.
Simultaneously, the parents of each living dead student were given their child's death notification by a uniformed officer and a chaplain. Although the death notifications were simulated and everyone knew this, the notifications typically resulted i overwhelming displays of emotion and concern.
A traffic collision was staged on the track. Utilizing donated vehicles, our Traffic Officers designed a realistic collision, complete with 'injured' students. The Junior and Senior classes were brought into the stands, where they heard a simulated 9-1-1 call reporting a collision. Police officers, firefighters and paramedic personnel were dispatched as they would be in a real-life situation. Arriving emergency personnel treated the scene normally, assessing injuries, identifying one 'dead' victim, and locating the driver at fault for this tragedy: a high school student under the influence of alcohol.
While the entire student body watched, the injured students were stabilized then transported to the closest hospital for treatment. The dead student was left lying on the ground, covered with a yellow emergency blanket, while the young man responsible for the accident was given field sobriety tests then arrested and taken to the police station. A coroner's van responded to the school, and the dead girl was placed on a gurney, and slowly driven away.
At the end of the day, the "living dead" students were taken to a local hotel for the evening. This was to effectively simulate that the students were "gone". The students were under the direct supervision of the school, police department and community member chaperons. The students had an opportunity to complete homework and work on an assembly presentation scheduled for the following day.
On Day Two a memorial service was held in the gym, complete with a casket that symbolized the death of their classmate. The sophomores, juniors and seniors were present to observe the costs of what drinking and driving can be. Various 'dead' students read letters to their parents, telling them things they had never had the opportunity to say. Additionally, parents shared letters that they wrote to their children.
For us, dealing with fatal and major injury traffic collisions comes with the nature of our chosen careers. o stage a collision that personalizes the grim cost of drinking and driving, and imparts a major message to the young drivers of our community required a tremendous amount of effort. Putting the brakes on teen drinking and driving can only happen when individuals, communities, and institutions dedicate themselves to helping young adults make responsible choices. As we saw during the first day, and especially during the memorial service on Thursday, many of the people in attendance were significantly moved by our efforts.
This powerful program is designed to create an awareness among students that they are not invincible. This program helps open the emotional doors, and it addresses a problem most teens do not know exist. They experience first hand how their actions affect the lives of so many other people. While it is a simulation, our people worked as hard as they could to make the experience as real as possible.
Given the extremely positive feedback we received, the "Every 15 Minutes" program will be presented at each of our city's high schools.