City Council Schools

Black Lives Matter BLM Task Force – Police SRO super surveillance?

LaDoris Cordell headshot on Zoom
LaDoris Cordell facilitates...
Written by lalahpolitico

The first meeting of the Black Lives Matter BLM task force Oct. 14, 2020 solved the perplexing mystery of why LAHS student at the fact-finding Townhall July 28 complained that ‘police always seemed to be around.’  {Video of Townhall July 28 }

Capt. Katie Krauss of the Los Altos Police Department explained that the Los Altos Police Department School Resource Officer (SRO) was on the LAHS campus perhaps around 10 hours a week Monday-Thursday, often not at all  some weeks. [She will be pulling together a better data-based estimate.] 

The SRO provides services – mostly educational presentations – to 16 public and private schools within the borders of the City of Los Altos and is stretched thin she said. Three years ago LAHS administration was asking LAPD if it could add a 2nd SRO. LAPD does not have the funding to do so. 

Krauss said that the purpose of the SRO program is to intervene with at-risk youths to divert them from falling into the justice system, in other words, to “keep them on a better path.”

Krauss explained that neither the  SRO nor the police department provide “security services” to LAHS. The school has one maybe two private security guards who wear plain clothes, are not armed, and may drive around in golf cart type vehicles.


Krauss explained  to
the BLM task force
all the various
ways ‘police’ could be ON
or AROUND the LAHS campus

  1. SRO walking around on campus, chatting,  trying to develop student relationships with at-risk youth.
  2. SRO meeting on campus with a student at the request of a school official, usually with the official present.
  3. If the school makes a 911 call or calls regular dispatch “for service”, the department sends a cop. Sometimes the SRO may not be available, so it will be a uniformed cop.
  4. If there is a 911 call or dispatch call from LAHS staff for a mental health situation, the Los Altos officer decides if a 5150 {involuntary 3 day hospital stay} is warranted.  If not, the incident is coded as a “welfare check.
  5. Sometimes LAHS students go into surrounding streets like Jardin, Alicia, etc. and cause an incident NEAR campus. These incidents will NOT be reported by the LA Police Department as AT the location of LAHS. They will be recorded by street. They will just be recorded as “juvenile” if some of the children are under 18.
  6. Mountain View SROs may come to LAHS to follow up with a student who is a resident of Mountain View. This occurs if the student got a citation for an incident that occurred in the city of Mountain View.  The SROs in the MV police follows their resident at risk juveniles to their school, whether that school  is LAHS or MVHS. Similarly, the SROs in the LA police follow their at risk Los ALtos residing juveniles to their school, even if it  is MVHS, located within the City of Mountain View. Clearly, the LA police department does not have the data on the visits of the MV SROs  to LAHS.
  7. MVPD detectives may visit LAHS to investigate cases involving MV residing juveniles. LAPD detectives may visit MVHS to investigate cases involving LA residing student.
  8. MVPD has youth sports programs – Explorer and Galaxy – that are staffed by cops.  They may come onto LAHS campus  in sports clothing to confer with the MV youth about the sports schedule, etc. 

In all the above cases, the school administration knows that police are making a visit.

The uniformed LAPD go to campus only when they have received a “call for service.” The have NO “self-intiated” visits.  


Captain Katie Kraus delivers SRO 101 to the Los Altos BLM task form members

Captain Katie Kraus delivers SRO 101 to the Los Altos BLM task form members

LosAltosPolitico:  Wow, no wonder some LAHS students feel policed.  Do they also think the private security guard on campus is actually a SRO? Kind of funny to “pin it” all on the LAPD SRO, isn’t it?  What are they learning in civics class?  


LosAltosPolitico Bottom line

The most concerning thing I heard at this BLM task force meeting is that – per Capt. Katie Krauss – the LAPD was shocked that the two teachers with ‘stories and concerns’ at the Town Hall never communicated about that to the LAPD.  Did those teachers at least report up to the administration and school counselors?  We can understand why the kids may’ve been hanging back from complaining. Those uniforms, that gun! But teachers? The grown-ups! Let’s fix that broken channel of communication.


 RESOURCES:

Los Altos Town Crier has a good summary of the Oct. 14 meeting that highlights things this article did not. Why would LALAH be repetitive? 

FYI: The nine members of the BLM task force: Robert Curtis Cole, Janet Corrigan, John Fennell, Moira Huang, Harvey Jang, Toni Moos, Renee Rashid, Aradhana Sinha, and Jeanine Valadez, with Annie Rogaski as alternate member. LaDoris Cordell is the facilitator, Jan Pepper and Neysa Fligor represent the city council.

FYI: The scope of the BLM task force is LIMITED to investigating two things. 1) the police School Resource Officer program at Los Altos High School, 2) the Los Altos Police Department Complaints process. Los Altos is not doing anything as vast a reform as large cities like Portland are attempting.


See our prior reporting. Anti-racist Critics Reject Council BLM Task Force Idea.   

Instead the Council held a Townhall first on July 28. But now we are at the Task Force stage.


Don’t miss…these riveting videos! 

Full 3.5 hour July 28 town hall on Youtube https://youtu.be/XAFv5D5Jt5g

15 Minute Highlight reel of July 28 Town Hall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jnHdmD8Thc

About the author

lalahpolitico

Norma Schroder is an economics & market researcher by trade and ardent independent journalist, photographer and videographer by avocation. Enthralled by the growth of the tech industry over the decades, she became fascinated with the business of local politics only in the past several years.