A familiar face around South Pasadena High School has a new position on campus: school resource officer.
South Pasadena Interim Police Chief Art Miller said Friday that he appointed Officer John Salcido to the post. Salcido is a full-time officer who will split his duties between the high school and South Pasadena Middle School, with the high school receiving about 60 percent of his time. He will also pop in to the elementary schools.
"He's not there to curb juvenile delinquency. This position is about being present and available -- to the students and their parents,'' Miller said, noting he originally planned to have Salcido start after the students return from Spring Break. But staffing this position was important to him, and so he wanted to do it as soon as possible, he said.
Salcido, 27, started Monday, following a meeting among Miller and administrators from the South Pasadena Unified School District, where everyone created strategies for the best use of a SRO. Salcido has been an officer with the department for five and a half years.
'The Kids are Hilarious'
At the close of his first week as SRO, Salcido told Patch that he's really enjoying the position. It was a busy week, but also entertaining, particularly at the middle school.
Kids spotted Salcido roaming around during lunch time, so they went up and started chatting with them, he said.
"They asked me what I had in my pockets, and asked me to empty my pockets. I pulled out a notebook and they were like, 'Wow, a notebook!.' It was funny, the kids are hilarious,'' Salcido said.
Superintendent Joel Shapiro said Friday that he is grateful to the city council, city manager, and police chief for their support of the school district in restoring the School Resource Officer position.
"This important position, which is common in most school districts, had been temporarily discontinued because of budget constraints. We now have Officer Salcido working directly with our schools.
"His responsibilites focus on student safety and not only at school; he also relates to students in a positive way that has an impact on their safety when they are not at school. His appointment as School Resource Officer is an example of the close relationship between the City and school district. We work together for the benefit of youth in our community,'' Shapiro said.
Miller, who was named interim chief last month, has said placing a SRO at the schools was one of his top priorities. He interviewed several members of the police department and chose Salcido because of his demeanor and connection to the school -- he is a past volunteer coach for the Tigers football team.
Salcido works four days a week, 10 hours a day, so he won't be on campus every day, but his schedule is flexible, Miller said. He will be on campus for extra curricular activities such as school dances and sporting events.
"I know this is something the community has wanted for a while so I wanted to move on it. I'm really happy with the selection. John's just a great guy,'' he said.