Safe Schools - Law Enforcement Partnership

  • The Safe Schools Program was established in 1988 involving the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department and San Juan Unified School District.  A mutual agreement was reached in which off-duty Sheriff’s deputies, paid by the school district, were employed to provide law enforcement services at selected district schools. Program deputies utilized Sacramento Sheriff’s uniforms, vehicles, and additional department resources to provide this service. 


    Safe Schools Philosophy

    The District realizes that the idea of having armed, uniformed deputies on campus may create occasional negative feelings among students, teachers, and parents who feel that deputies do not belong in a school environment.  We acknowledge the existence of these feelings and will actively take steps to alleviate them.  By exemplifying proactive law enforcement involvement and placing an emphasis on cultivating positive community relations, we will project a positive law enforcement image.  When dealing with students who misbehave, district staff will exercise progressive discipline which includes listening first, counseling and referrals when possible, then law enforcement when necessary.  The exception to this practice is when it is necessary for immediate law enforcement intervention because of an unsafe or illegal activity.  The deputies are sensitive to the needs of the schools, the students, and community.

    Program Concepts

    1. Officers are selected by the Safe Schools Administrator and Field Operations Coordinator.  Minimum qualifications are set with Safe Schools for selection criteria. Each program officer will receive specialized training, provided jointly, by Safe Schools and the school district.  Officers selected for the program are fully trained Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputies.

    2. Officers are paid directly by the school district. Additional employee/employer conditions are set within an agreed upon Memorandum of Understanding between the District and the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department.
    3. Officers patrol the school district when school is in session during school hours in marked Sacramento Sheriff’s Patrol vehicles.  An officer is assigned to one of eight geographic zones.  Officers are required to respond to calls for service and provide routine patrol for all schools within their assigned zone.
    4. Program officers will respond to the following critical incidents, which have been identified as situations which occur on campus:
      • Assault and Battery incidents, on students or staff, which are related to school activity
      • Weapons violations
      • Intruders on campus who are disrupting the school environment
      • Gang activities on campus
      • Alcohol or controlled substance violations on campus
      • 5150 assessments and interventions
      • Threat assessments
      • Safety and welfare checks
    Note:  Safe Schools Officers do not handle all calls for service related to the District, but they share this responsibility with Sacramento Sheriff’s Patrol Division.
    Program schools experiencing an identified critical incident will communicate directly with the Safe Schools dispatcher in the district office. The dispatcher will contact the officer in the appropriate zone with pertinent information regarding the incident.  Non-critical incidents will be directed to regular Sacramento Sheriff’s Communications for response by Sheriff’s patrol.

    Safe Schools Responsibilities

    The presence of Safe Schools Officers on campus will not be limited to crisis situations.  An effective cooperative relationship will be established and maintained with schools staff and students.  To prevent a crisis from occurring, all Program Officers will work to be pro-active rather than reactive.
    “All students and staff of primary, elementary, middle, and senior high schools have the inalienable right to attend campuses which are safe, secure, and peaceful” (Cal. Const. Art. 1.28c).
    Safe Schools will help form a responsible alliance between schools and law enforcement which will assist schools in the following duties:
    • To enforce the rules and regulations prescribed for schools and to exercise careful supervision over the moral conditions in the respective schools.
    • To use disciplinary or criminal process to deal effectively and impartially with misbehavior.  Criminal behavior on campus does require a response from law enforcement.
    • To take affirmative and immediate action to assure the safety of students, outsiders, and even the student him/herself.
    • To exercise reasonable control over students and use only such physical control as necessary to maintain order, protect property, and the health, safety, and welfare of other students.

    Control and Supervision

    The Safe Schools Program falls under the direct control of the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department.  A designated Sheriff’s Department representative shall supervise the program and work in conjunction with school districts who wish to utilize the Safe Schools Program.
    Each school district will assign a program administrator who will work in conjunction with the Safe Schools Program Manager.
    Safe Schools Officers are within the immediate control of a Field Team Leader or a Sheriff’s Department Patrol Field Supervisor and ultimately the responsibility of the designated program supervisor.
    School districts are the primary service customer.  While working Safe Schools, officers shall only respond to Sacramento Sheriff’s requests or assistance when directed to do so by a Patrol or Program Supervisor.

    Threat Assessment

    The Safe School Program has a “Threat Assessment” Officer from the Sacramento Sheriff Department, with specialized training, assigned to assist schools in developing effective methods for dealing with threats on campus.  The primary purpose of a threat assessment is to prevent targeted violence.  The appraisal of risk, in a threat assessment, focuses on actions, communications and specific circumstances that might suggest an individual intends to mount an attack and is engaged in planning or preparing for that event.
    When appropriate, a critical incident, involving threats, may become the focus of a threat assessment inquiry or investigation.  School officials may request this follow-up. The Safe School “Threat Assessment” Officer will gather information, evaluate facts and make a determination as to whether a given student poses a threat of violence to a target.
Last Modified on November 3, 2017