Los Altos City Council votes to remove SROs from LAHS

STORY BY GIL RUBINSTEIN, PHOTO BY TOMOKI CHIEN

In a unanimous vote, the Los Altos City Council moved to eliminate school resource officers from the Los Altos High School campus and implement a variety of reforms to the police complaint process. These decisions come following over 19 hours of police task force meetings, culminating in the Council’s final vote early this morning.

SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS

The official recommendation of the task force, presented by member Renee Rashid, was to permanently eliminate the SRO program from LAHS.

Following uncertainty over the purpose of the SRO program and an overwhelming majority of speakers during public comment advocating for elimination, the Council decided unanimously to eliminate the program. 

Of all the 52 members of the public that gave comment on SROs, over 90 percent of statements were in support of doing so.

“Whatever the goals of the task force are, they are not being met,” Vice Mayor Neysa Fligor said. “Even if it was just ten students that were being negatively impacted, we have an obligation as leaders of this community to make sure we have a program that works for everyone.”

COMPLAINT INTAKE PROCESS

Presented by task force member Jeanine Valadez, the recommendations included updating the online feedback form, creating a third-party intake portal and creating a tracking database.

The online feedback form will be placed in an “easy to find” location on the City’s website. 

Furthermore, a third party — likely a retired legal or judicial professional — will review submissions before passing them on to the police department, as opposed to the complaints going directly to the department as before. A database will keep track of various different factors including ethnicity, gender and age.

In a 3–2 vote, with Anita Enander and Jeannie Bruins dissenting, the Council moved to approve the online feedback form. In a 4–0 vote, the Council approved the third party intake portal, with Lynette Lee Eng abstaining over concerns of a financial impact. Judge LaDoris Cordell, the moderator of the task force, reported that the cost of a third party intake portal would be in the range of $2,000–$10,000; Lee Eng still abstained.

Following the vote, Lee Eng claimed to have received threatening messages from members of the activist group Justice Vanguard, calling her racist — this was immediately condemned by other members of the council. 

“I voted the way I did, I am representing my concerns due to the lack of information,” Lee Eng said. “That said, I just want to protect myself and protect my family.”

At the time of publication, the Post has not been able to reach Justice Vanguard for comment.

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