Committee wants more study of La Crosse school officer program
There are calls for more study of the SRO program, which puts police officers in La Crosse schools.
A subcommittee reports to the county criminal justice management council that the idea of having officers on school property needs to be examined.
Panel member Jason Witt says that’s especially true because of increased criticism of police in the U.S.
“The heightened desire we have and feel from our community members to make sure that our justice practices are equitable and getting a desired result (suggests) that this really is an appropriate time for communities to be examining their SRO programs,” said Witt.
The La Crosse district recently suspended its agreement with police to continue the SRO program after June, following reports that former criminal justice council citizen member Joella Striebel was harassed online by a police union.
The report cites national studies showing juvenile crime has gone down in America, but arrests of students at schools have gone up.
Officer Cordero Gilliam has been the SRO at La Crosse Central this year, one of five in the La Crosse district, and he defends the program.
“We know as school resource officers how pertinent our role is in being that liaison between the school community and law enforcement itself,” Gilliam told the council. “These are one of those integral times that we can have positive contacts with the youth, especially inside of school, and show them that law enforcement is not bad.”