The School Resource Officer grant issue is going to be decided soon, perhaps as early as our next Burbank City Council meeting. As a 31-year veteran of Burbank Police Department, a former SRO, and a parent with a child in local schools, I would encourage close attention to this matter.
Looking back, the police chief opted to cut the SRO program from three to one officer as part of required budget cuts. This signaled a significant change in organizational philosophy. For about 40 years the SRO program had been the centerpiece of the department’s community based policing commitment. In previous tough economies, prior chiefs would minimize, or even eliminate other specialized details but refused to allow SRO’s to fall to fewer than three officers.
I believe the chief recognized the value of the program and seized the opportunity to apply for a grant to re-staff three SRO’s. Apparently the grant application described Burbank's need to be so significant, and Rep. Adam Schiff’s influence was so great, that Burbank was one of the communities to receive funds. Both the city and Schiff issued press releases on how wonderful it was for our community.