The City of St. Helena was recently awarded funding through the Tobacco Law Enforcement Grant to staff a School Resource Officer (SRO).
The grant will allow the St. Helena Police Department (SHPD) to provide the SRO position through June 2021. The SHPD is currently in the selection process for the SRO position and one is expected to be in place in April.
The SRO, a full-time officer, will be specifically assigned to the St. Helena Unified School District (SHUSD) to implement the goals and objectives of the tobacco program, which are to achieve significant reduction in the percentage of students using tobacco related products. The SRO will work side by side and collaboratively with school district personnel and community resources to provide educational programs that focus on the hazards of tobacco use by students, enforcement of state laws regarding student use and possession, as well as the rules of the respective schools regarding e-cigarettes and other tobacco related products.
The SRO will work in all schools within the SHUSD focusing primarily in St. Helena High School and Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School. Additionally, the SRO will build on the SHPD’s current Youth Connect Program that encourages officers to visit the various campuses to engage and interact with students at lunch, during gym, or in classrooms. The SRO will act as a liaison with the schools, Juvenile Diversion, Up Valley Youth Coalition, and other youth related organizations.
“I’m hopeful the SRO will help reduce youth tobacco use, but also enhance the current cooperative working relationship between the city and school district, and provide a positive role model to improve relationships with students, parents, and school staff,” said Mayor Geoff Ellsworth.
“I have enjoyed working with the City of St. Helena and the Police Department for the past five years. I appreciate the collaborative efforts to ensure student safety. I believe adding an SRO will build upon the positive relationships established and be a preventative strategy for overall student well being,” said Superintendent Dr. Marylou Wilson.