Berkeley safety officers Steven Saunders and Diesel Sutherland wear logoed uniform

The Berkeley Unified School District released a plan on Tuesday to improve security at the high school, but didn’t address one of the major recommendations made by the police – to put security officers in uniform.

The district will pay to have a police officer on campus five days a week instead of four; accelerate training for security officers; hire an independent agency to examine the district’s security procedures; create an ad hoc committee to examine whether to partially close the campus and require students to display identification badges; and install internal locks on classroom doors, among other changes. The measures will cost the district $89,000, according to the report.

But the long list of changes do not address concerns raised by the Berkeley Police Department in a letter sent to Superintendent Bill Huyett on March 31. In the correspondence, Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan said his “top recommendation” for the security program is to put safety officers in uniform.

“We recommend all security personnel have a visible, uniformed appearance,” wrote Meehan. “Visible security personnel are a deterrent to non-students attempting to enter campus for unauthorized or illegal purposes. Additionally, this increases security personnel safety by ensuring responding police officers can easily recognize and coordinate with staff during incidents.”

Meehan’s letter also suggests that the security officers be equipped with handcuffs or plastic flexcuffs to restrain students. That point wasn’t addressed in the new plan either.

No top officials at the school district could be contacted to comment on the report or police letter since it is spring break. The report will be presented to the school board at its April 13 meeting.

The question of uniforms for school safety officers has been an issue for decades at Berkeley High. For years the officers refused to wear a uniform, but in recent years have started to wear blue jackets and white or black polo shirts with a Berkeley High logo on it.

Still, the uniforms so closely resemble normal street attire that it is often difficult to distinguish the safety officers, according to Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, a spokeswoman for the Berkeley Police Department. When there is a brawl, for example, and safety officers are trying to break apart a group of fighting students, the officers are hard to tell apart from the students, she said.

“At the present, there are times when Berkeley police personnel don’t know the difference between the safety officers, who are full grown men, and students, who have the appearance of full grown men,” said Kusmiss.

In addition, if the safety officers were wearing uniforms while patrolling the high school, non-students who might be thinking of entering the campus might think twice, she said.

The police department also said that the number one safety step the district could take would be to close the school campus at lunch. In his report to the school board, Huyett said he would appoint an ad hoc safety committee made up of six staff members, four parents, and two high school students to consider the proposal. The group will also examine the idea of ID badges, look at the protocol for visitors on campus, and review the third-party security assessment of the campus. The group will also examine the idea of a community school for students who have been expelled. Huyett’s letter to the school board did not detail what this means, but the district is considering establishing a school at the Adult School campus.

Seven students have been arrested in recent months for bringing guns to Berkeley High and B-Tech, along with a number of other gun-related arrests nearby. The latest incident was Friday, when a Berkeley High student was held up by a gun on Shattuck Avenue near the high school. The alleged assailant, a former high school student, had been released from jail just a week earlier after serving time for a house burglary, according to sources who asked not to be named.

The spate of gun incidents has prompted the district, school board, and high school officials to examine current safety policies and come up with new measures to improve security.

As part of this effort, Huyett is planning to hire a third-party organization to review the district’s policies, according to the report. The organization will use the standards set by the National Crime Prevention Council as a benchmark.

In the last two weeks, the district has added two safety officers to the staff, bringing to 14 the number of officers at the high school. They have been instructed to do hourly sweeps of isolated areas like bathrooms. The district has also made permanent the additional safety officer stationed at B-Tech. The high school will hire a part-time administrator to coordinate all these efforts, according to the report.

Huyett also detailed the training instruction currently scheduled for security staff. This includes two one-hour sessions with Berkeley police in April; a 40-hour training on conflict resolution for four safety officers; and a three-day workshop for safety officers in all of the district’s middle and high schools in June. That will be led by the Institute for School Safety.

UPDATE April 6, 12:20 pm Susan Craig, the director of student services, called in from vacation to say that the district will be examining the question of uniforms in the coming weeks. “We are considering upgrading the uniform so it is more professional-looking and more visible.”

Frances Dinkelspiel

Frances Dinkelspiel (co-founder) is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California,...

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86 Comments

  1. DATA from a safety meeting in 2007. BHS dean of discipline at the time provided the numbers at a safety meeting, as the poster stated, she was a committee member.

    Have you ever been to a meeting to learn about BHS safety operations, after a couple of meetings smart folks figure out the game BHS has been played for years. Because the school is required by law to report data to the state, on occasion as a result of considerable pressure data is presented. Go back and read the Chief recommendations which includes advanced data collection and analysis. Over the years I would go to BPD robbery detail and request the monthly totals of robberies reported by students from BHS, comparing that data to what BHS reported to the state, the difference was awesome, meaning huge.

    We learned about the 12 assaults from former dean denise brown, spring 2006. during the prolonged process of pressuring the school to investigate another ugly incident. The school failed in so many ways, but so did the BPD under Chief Hambleton. Since I knew there of surveillance cameras on Shattuck at the site of the assault I sent the parents to a detective willing to pull the tapes, the school safety staff refused to identify the rest of offenders, but the cops knew the main offender as WSB affiliated.

    The mom joined the safety committee because she wanted to protect other families from suffering what she had. Her son was hospitalized from the injuries, the already been expelled the year before WSB offender hung on campus every day. Her son saw him regularly. The school refused to obtain a restraining order which would have provided the necessary tools for the BPD bike patrol to keep this dangerous known offender from hanging on campus. The safety staff was useless to say the least.

    Those you don’t like hearing the harsh reality from those who have experienced it are very predictable in your responses. Kinda like Ms Huseby, who knows that the moms she criticizes cared enough about this community to spend years engaged with BHS, BPD, BUSD and city of Berkeley officials to fix these dysfunctional responses to serious crime on campus . I only wish you would your imagination to understand why the vast majority of parents remain anonymous as whistle-blowers since they feel they must protect their kids.

  2. 256 fights in a three month period? Could you please provide a source for your numbers? Unless you have a solid source, these numbers seem inflammatory and exaggerated.

  3. I am shocked and saddened that the community wouldn’t support every suggestion of it’s police chief in an effort to make their high school safe. I feel unable to send my child to this school unless changes are made. Anyone who doesn’t must not have a child at this school or be considering BHS for their child. I haven’t heard any other credible suggestions made by anyone else with any experience in this area!

  4. Brad: Can you tell me now I can get to the report by the security consultant that you referred to?

  5. The letter by Berkeley Police Chief Meehan is excellent and covers recommendations and questions parents of BHS students have had for years – why aren’t students required to wear a visible ID bag? why isn’t truancy at the park across the street enforced? why doesn’t BHS security wear uniforms and “act” like security enforcing clear rules of behavior?

    In addition, the truancy rate if matched to the GPA’s of students, would clearly show an almost identical lineup: kids who don’t go to class get bad grades and frequently have behavior problems.

    Why can’t someone on the school board, the superintendent or the principal take real action using the data they have to isolate and control behavior problems and make the school work for kids who want to learn?

  6. I have edited my reply to EBGuy, adding this:

    [Edit: It is a decent question to ask how the school safety crew justifies their paychecks, so to speak. It is, I hope all will agree, a very bad idea to publicly reveal where anonymous tips flow that lead to detection and control of guns on campus. To put it in an exaggerated way, suppose that it turns out Grounds keeper Willy is the primary conduit of tips that leads to busting guns on campus. And suppose EBGuy is skeptical that Willy earns his pay. Well, the press can go and dig up and report that, yup, Willy was the conduit for those vital tips — and as a consequence those tips stop flowing. EBGuy’s question seemed unwise to me, in that respect, in this small town.]

  7. The Sharkey: Believe me, we have made the same remarks on numerous occasions, on- and off-line, to Thomas Lord.

    It’s just that at the pace at which you two keep it up, it’s sometimes difficult to keep track.

    For the record, I will repeat it here: please, pretty please, Thomas Lord and The Sharkey, find a way to express your points without making it personal. The Berkeleyside community will thank you.

  8. I have to wonder why you aren’t making comments like that in response to Tom Lord’s posts? What kind of constructive, civil discourse do you think Tom was trying to build with his response to EBGuy? Or does he get different treatment because he writes for the Berkeley Daily Planet?

    I may be the most vocal about it, but I’m clearly not the only one fed up with his antics either. From what I hear you’ve actually banned him for it in the past.

  9. The Sharkey: It’s not just Berkeleyside editors who are fed up reading the seemingly constant sniping that is going on between you and other commenters. Please stick to the subject and keep it civil.

  10. That’s obviously not why he wants that information, but you just can’t help yourself from your usual obstructionist tenancies can you, Tom Lord?

  11. In three out of the last four gun incidents, students(?) passed information to school authorities about individuals carrying firearms on campus. I still am curious who on the school side received this information (trusted adult, counselor,teacher, VP, secretary?). If it was a safety officer, that would certainly go a bit towards redeeming the effectiveness of their approach. Given everything else I’ve read, though, I’m a bit worried that their methods are counterproductive. BS, any chance you can query the administration to find out what the avenue were for the tip offs?

  12. The fact that he has suddenly stopped posting once his previous identity was revealed makes me think that “Tom Lord” is his real name. Either that, or he got re-banned from posting.

    If it’s an assumed name he’s been using it for at least half a decade. I’ve found postings of his on GNU programming forums from as far back as 2003.

    I think it’s cool that we have a self-employed programmer posting here and he definitely does a good job representing and defending the far-left mindset of many “old guard” Berkeley residents, I just wish he wasn’t being so active here while simultaneously writing snarky “blog roundups” for the Daily Planet of what gets discussed here at Berkeleyside.

  13. We edited all the comments that related to a Berkeley High volunteer. We’re trying to maintain a civil discourse here. Your comment, Elmwood Neighbor, was edited because it referenced something else that had been edited.

  14. Really, Berkeleyside — you edit my comment that is expressed as an opinion but you let others slander people with inaccurate and unfounded statements presented as facts?

    Interesting.

  15. Good sleuthing, all. But it is a real leap of faith to assume that because the Berkeley Daily Planet accepts his name as “Thomas Lord that there’s any implied accuracy to that.

    I don’t know how his start ups are prospering (I wish him well), but in his earlier incarnation, he claimed to live in a tightly rent contolled apt. on San Pablo Ave. in southwest Berkeley.

    He became quite (uncharacteristically) emotional when a rent control issue cropped up on Berkeleyside and stated that he would probably have become homeless if he had not won his lawsuit against the landlord who was attempting an “illegal” eviction.

    So, take comfort while you labor today, that some of the collective’s wealth is going to subsidize his free time to filibuster this website…

  16. Mr. Fox, thank you very much for keeping in touch with Berkeley on this particular issue. All historical details are helpful in this discussion.

  17. Yeah, that comment sounds a lot like the kind of comment that Bruce Love/Tom Lord would tear into someone else for making.

  18. I believe he is self-employed, which explains a lot.

    The Berkeley Daily Planet seems to accept Tom Lord as being his real name, so it’s probably accurate.

  19. Thomas Lord once wrote in the Daily Planet: “I’ve been a computer programmer for about 25 years.” Bruce Love wrote on Berkeleyside that he was working at a startup in West Berkeley that was developing new manufacturing processes. So, it seems he is a programmer who works by contract and at least sometimes contracts with Berkeley startups. Maybe that can help someone guess his real identity.

    Needless to say, he is also the world’s greatest expert in everything. He obviously works only on rare occasions, leaving him with ample time to share his encyclopedic knowledge with us.

  20. Exposing the fact that the administration attempted to control parent knowledge of gun incidents and AOD problems on campus is an example of the cover-up the DA referred to.

    I have many more examples of cover-ups.

    In my experience if the organization does not admit its errors and develop a culture of INTEGRITY, all the buzz words compliant list will not deliver results.

    Janet could have chosen to not post her criticism, and then I would not chosen to shed light on yet another way the school has manipulated the community.

  21. Just stating facts that happen to be relevant to the requirements for cultural change.

    Accusing me of a vendetta is an attack, I have repeated presented the solutions to serious problems and been undermined by those protecting the status quo.

    That would make me a whistle blower.

  22. Exactly.

    As the parent advocate who received phone calls from distressed parents as well as school and city personnel, I too, know just how broken security operations are at BHS.

    The list of recommendations from both agencies is a fine place to start. If the district approved advanced data analysis opportunities will open up that have been ignored.

    1. State Grants to fund the recommended three SROs.
    2. Early intervention in middle school
    3. Gang intervention

    I could go on……

    But mostly I want to remind folks that the only reason the city/schools is taking corrective action is because the gun incidents were public.
    None of these recommendations are new, we have been listing these same measures for years.
    And none are complicated to implement or cost much.

    Two things stand out as missing.

    Individual response plans for students identified at risk for RETALIATION. This requires the high school to obtain a restraining order against non-students or expelled students who are hanging out on the perimeters of the school lying in wait with their partners to beat down those who report crimes.

    This is real and critical, if you truly intend to see a cultural shift as well as provide police and school staff with the necessary and reasonable tools to do the job well.

    Second, a system of tracking parent, guardians concerns and formal complaints, with an emphasis on satisfactory resolving formal complaints.

  23. No, that isn’t what I was saying at all. It’s just that many of your comments seem to be fueled by personal vendettas. For me, that undermines what you have to say. And with that I’m going to end my comments on this thread.

    Well, except that I would like to say that Janet Huseby (who, I believe had four children go through B-High) does not deserve to be smeared by inuendo in this forum.

  24. I feel badly when I read these posts. It’s pretty unproductive for my friends in Berkeley to attack one another, especially when you are dealing with the safety of your children. And the reality is that most people aren’t aware of the safety issues at BHS, even if they are on the campus. Administrators and kids are loathe to talk about them.

    The campus safety force is an unprofessional group at best. Their resistance to wearing identification should tell you that. Unfortunately, you can’t be privy to all of the personnel issues the district has has to deal with over the years. But I can remember us hiring a former senior U.S. Marshal to manage and evaluate the safety monitors. Someone broke into his office and locked file cabinet and stole all of his evaluations. I wonder who would want to do that? The Marshal eventually left, unable to effect the kind of professional changes we were all seeking in the safety monitors

    I personally had a campus monitor arrested for partnering with a student who burglarized student lockers for him. He was considered to be the best monitor we had. I could go on and on about how poorly they performed. But that’s not really the point. Berkeley HS, like the rest of the community has a crime problem. You need professional solutions and personnel.

    And please don’t continue to burden one poor BPD officer with providing the professional security. I never felt comfortable with the number of crimes I helped saddle Officer Rosie Brown with during his tenure at BHS. In addition, he had to write an incredibly large number of reports. Do you think BPD officers are jumping at the chance to take on that burden? Helping the BPD with BHS safety would go a long way to building a better partnership.

    Hire trained officers. Make the school safe.

    Brad Fox

  25. “when a Berkeley HIgh student was held up by a gun.”
    So the gun said, “Hey, you there, stop what you’re doing and sit down for a visit.”
    The student replied, “Can’t stop. Have to get to class.”
    But the loquacious gun just wouldn’t stop talking. The student, not wanting to be rude, ended up late for class.

  26. So Elmwood neighbor, are you saying you support the establishment taking control over a community funded newsletter when they disagree with the content?

    Huseby and Slemp … disapproved of articles written in the PTSA newsletter such as: a gun incident on campus, CHKS survey results showing higher than state average drug and alcohol use by on campus

    The county PTA council assisted the BHS PTSA in fighting this takeover.

    The kind of information people are now congratulating Scuderi for disseminating.

    [This comment has been moderated and edited.]

  27. PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC!

  28. I am not surprised that Janet Huseby is commending the safety officers. When I was there as a parent, a volunteer on campus, and on the safety committee, she did not look critically at what was happening to our youth, but rather supported politically Principal Slemp. When 17 high school students were assaulted within a 2 month period, she should have questioned what was going on and help take steps to make the campus safer. Instead, she blindfully followed whatever Slemp said without questioning it – which was try to make the parents of those kids who had been assaulted go away, try to hide statistics and facts, and repeat as a robot, that the safety committee was doing a good job. If she has been there for seven years and has seen the officers respond to a need quickly and efficiently, then why were there 17 assaults in 2 months, why were there 256 fights in a 3 month period, why is theft rampant on campus, and why are drugs being sold on campus. The students know who are the drug dealers and the kids who are causing problems; why don’t the safety officers and administrators take action? And stop discouraging participation and input by parents who are capable and willing to help simply because of different political viewpoints.

  29. Why write I still all one, ever the same,
    And keep invention in a noted weed,
    [I think we know what “weed” in this case…]
    That every word doth almost tell my name,
    Showing their birth, and where they did proceed?

    Yes, I believe I outed “Bruce Love” about a week ago on a different Berkeleyside thread, but it did not seem to get much play there. It’s not just the obvious parallelism in phraseology or the same tendentious argumentative style or even the directly recycled material from “Thomas Lord” (probably another nom de guerre?).

    Above all else, it’s the sheer volume and length of comments which unmistakably points to just one “super-troll”. After all, who else seems to have endless free time to comment and respond ad nauseum on so many different threads, always posing as either the ultra rational, Mr. Spock figure or the polymath, know-it-all while his spouse is enabling all of this by earning an honest paycheck as a university librarian?

  30. hahahaha! to ‘bhs regular’…and where are is your offer of ‘very real solutions’? you only seem concerned with stereotyping people as ‘uppity’.
    and i have to agree with janet….this is a much bigger societal issue.

  31. Gratuitous potshots? What is the gratuitous part?

    Also, I have heard the “pass the buck” explanation, “Oh well, it just reflects our society at large,” too many times not to pipe up here. Our kids are required by law to go to school and they are set in a population dense situation under other peoples control. This is NOTHING like society at large where when you are afraid, you can stay home or decide when and where to go out, who to go with and what to take with you.

    Please acknowledge this HUGE difference and recognize it creates a greater duty to protect.Janet, Have you really been involved at BHS? Why don’t you know this? Why is this so hard to “get?”

  32. BTW, for whatever it’s worth, eons ago the so-called BHS security guards wore rather ridiculous and ill-fitting red coats and were known colloquially as the “Red Coats.” That’s how everyone from students to teachers to parents referred to them. They were easily identifiable by all.

    At that time, these Red Coats were mostly a shady and unsavory bunch by and large, with only the rare exception interested in doing his job properly. At that time, some of these Red Coats were actually involved in facilitating crime, dealing and other acts of debauchery. One of them made the news at the time when he was arrested on suspicion of pimping and pandering a truant/drop out student out of the seedy “hotel “on Milvia across the street from BHS.

  33. the security guards have resisited wearing uniforms identifying them for years.IT is outrageous that they wlll not identify themselves! BHS has made excuses for this and I know because I was on the BHS Safety Committee
    2 years ago and asking tough questions as to what the SAFETY OFFICERS job was and where and when they
    provide safety to the students at BHS. No real answers came of this from Billy Keys..It appears BHS is
    more interested in keeping their safety officers happy then keeping our kids safe…if they want to be safety officers then they have to wear the vests identifiying themselves..period

  34. As I said above: “Notice that Bruce always puts the burden of proof on the other side, with no burden of proof on himself.”

    Anyone can prolong an argument endlessly in this way. Keep asking the other people to prove their point and to produce evidence. Never produce any evidence yourself.

    It is the perfect approach for someone who is simply an obstructionist and wants to prevent any effective action.

  35. The people defending the status quo at BHS seem to be among those who value gun rights over our rights to be safe from guns.

  36. And this criticism from Slemp’s hired volunteer coordinator who attempted to take away the PTSA newsletter from the editor for writing about a gun incident a few years ago.

  37. “I predict that the main impact of uniforms will be ….”

    Always good to make a prediction with no basis at all – except that you believe it because you want to believe it.

  38. I find these comment threads very troubling. A lot of gratuitous potshots are being taken at the BHS security officers by people who have not been on campus for years. I have worked on the BHS campus for close to seven years. Over and over again I have seen the officers respond to a need quickly and efficiently. The officers are in close contact via radio. More training is good. Training is good for everyone. But, as it is, I am impressed with how well the BHS security team works and how quickly they respond to a need. I feel safe on the Berkeley High campus. Our real problem is bigger than Berkeley High: We live in a society that values gun rights over our rights to be safe from guns.

  39. He won’t, but it’s obvious. Check out some of his “blog roundup” writings for the Berkeley Daily Planet. Identical writing style and point of view.

    Adding the search term “lord@emf.net” helps since he signs all those articles with that e-mail address.

  40. You’ve already admitted several times that “Bruce Love” is a pseudonym.

    Why lie about it now?

  41. Uh… my name is Bruce but your collective obsession with Thomas Lord is pretty interesting. Yup, it’s fascinating.

  42. The only solution to this problem, and a host of others, is capital punishment for habitual criminals.

  43. I agree with you Bruce, why should the district spend money on having uniforms tailored if the same opposition from the students cease to exist, after all you’re only changing the appearance, not the individual patrolling the hallway.

  44. Yeah, quick Googling shows that “Thomas Lord” is the only other person to use that turn of phrase here on Berkeleyside.

    Looks like “Bruce Love” just outed himself as the previously-banned poster known as “Thomas Lord.”

  45. I’ll be happy to answer IF you will first clarify: what do you think the effect of a uniform is and how do you think it relates to the assigned task of this particular staff?

  46. Very true I also noticed that, I hate to throw ethnicity into this, however since more of the African American’s decent students seem to being causing the fights, stealing, committing felony’s etc, I believe Hyuett wants the majority of the Safety Officers to be well…. Black because at the same time they can catch some of the thugs other times they let them off with a warning depending on how well they know them, due to Admin/Safety Officer A knows student B well, so he can pressure B into giving up student C.

  47. It’s explained clearly in the article why uniforms would help. To tell you the truth, when I look at the photo with this article, those guys could just as easily be two guys off the street as they could be “uniformed” security officers.

    I don’t quite understand why there’s so much resistance to wearing a uniform. Can you explain THAT?

  48. We all know Berkeley better known as “Bezerkeley” residents exhibit a free spirited approach to everything such as Budget Cuts to Gun Violence. The community should be happy the safety officers are always wearing their Black/White Polo shirts that identify them or their Blue wind breakers, that also have their name/School/Rank etc embossed on it. Blue or Black Jeans/Pants are allowed and seem to be the only dress code from the waste down at least is required. Maybe it’s because they fit better in with the crowd of students and can easily catch a student cutting school or trying to steal somebody’s else property.

  49. Why must people in this city spend so much time arguing over semantics and stupid BS when we could be offering real solutions to VERY real problems?

    I am proud as hell of the city I’m from, but you uppity berkeley folk really grind my gears sometimes.

  50. I was told by the Berkeley Alliance staff that during October truancy sweep in the parks there was a tense situation when bike patrols could not determine who some of the younger school security were and those employees of the district refused to provide their identification to police.

  51. That’s my question as well. Seems to work for Police, Sheriffs, Fire Department, Military, Employees at Target, etc.

    Easier to find when you need help, and easier to identify in a tussle.

  52. What are you hoping to accomplish by trying to play the martyr here? Just trying to make the discussion about you instead of the issue?

  53. I predict that the main impact of uniforms will be to diminish the amount of meaningful and useful interaction that that safety team has with students and others on campus.

    However, I do acknowledge that, by gosh, people with whom many commentators are eager to find fault are not in favor of the uniforms, therefore, “obviously”, raising the uniform issue is a high priority community issue in response to the gun incidents. I’m sure the kids feel safer already.

  54. @ Berkeleyside

    How many “Likes” would it take on this post to have Mr. Love’s comments featured on a link in the side bar, where we could enjoy them uninterrupted?

  55. The only situation I can think of where officers don’t wear uniforms is undercover police/security forces that pose as “regular folks” so they can observe people undetected.

    The idea of BHS security posing as students to do undercover surveillance opens up a whole different bag of worms, which seems like it would create a lot more problems than putting them in uniforms.

  56. The issue of security staff insubordination and rogue behaviors are more serious than just the uniform issue.

  57. This sounds real.

    “The district will pay to have a police officer on campus five days a week instead of four; accelerate training for security officers; hire an independent agency to examine the district’s security procedures…”

    But, what does the accelerated training entail? Is the established philosophical/anti law enforcement position of these officers and Dean McDonald, to date, getting addressed in the accelerated training? Is the failure to implement uniforms have anything to do with Safety Officers objecting to wearing uniforms and if so why? Will the independent agency’s examination include the procedures and practices of the BHS Safety Officers and will there be a report published? Are the Safety Officers working and co-coordinating with the Berkeley Police Department or is the one liaison officer expected to be “the” connection?

  58. “We recommend all security personnel have a visible, uniformed appearance,” wrote Meehan. “Visible security personnel are a deterrent to non-students attempting to enter campus for unauthorized or illegal purposes. Additionally, this increases security personnel safety by ensuring responding police officers can easily recognize and coordinate with staff during incidents.”

    it is often difficult to distinguish the safety officers, according to Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, a spokeswoman for the Berkeley Police Department. When there is a brawl, for example, and safety officers are trying to break apart a group of fighting students, the officers are hard to tell apart from the students, she said.

    “At the present, there are times when Berkeley police personnel don’t know the difference between the safety officers, who are full grown men, and students, who have the appearance of full grown men,” said Kusmiss.

    In addition, if the safety officers were wearing uniforms while patrolling the high school, non-students who might be thinking of entering the campus might think twice, she said.

    Notice that Bruce always puts the burden of proof on the other side, with no burden of proof on himself.

    Bruce, why don’t walk us through the steps of why these steps may be regressive? It is not enough just to say “There’s a risk that those steps are actually regressive” without giving any reason.

    Maybe you can also tell us about any places you know that have security guards who do not wear distinctive uniforms. You should know some places like that, so you can compare places with and without uniformed security guards, in order to have any support for your assertion that uniforms are regressive.

    I doubt if you can think of any. The uniforms may not look anything like police uniforms, but I have never seen any place where security does not have some sort of distinctive dress.

  59. Would you mind walking that back to the point where you explain how putting uniforms on those guys actually improves school safety? There are several layers of implausible inferences that got us to this point.

    I don’t mean that purely as snark. The loudest mouths in “the community” seem to be boxing BUSD in to a corner to take visible steps without much regard to whether or not those steps are actually helpful. There’s a risk that those steps are actually regressive. So, walk us through it. Why uniforms? And, no, I don’t quite see why anyone should by the rationale that goes “Because BPD says so…”.

  60. I don’t recall that I have ever agreed with your comments but apparently there is a first time for everything 🙂

    The fact that the BUSD cannot require them to wear uniforms is absurd.

  61. I seriously doubt any east coast big city mayor or Supt of Schools(take Corey Booker for example) would put up with this bs. Long ago they would have outsourced school security, fulfilling their responsibility for student safety over a jobs programs.

  62. It might be nice if the security officers were also authorized to apprehend and detain students who were engaging in criminal activity.

    Putting a uniform on someone without giving them authority won’t actually do much.

  63. Several quick points: 1) The district hired a security consultant when I was BHS vice principal. Perhaps you can read that report before paying to have another done. 2) The campus security officers have always resisted wearing visible identification, making it a union issue before. The police are absolutely correct in saying that they need to be identifiable by students and police. But more importantly, have the security officers become a more creditable force in recent years? They were sometimes more of an obstacle to school safety when I was vp. I recommended terminating them, and hiring a smaller number of POST trained officers. It was not done then because of local politics. I still think this is what needs to be done if you are serious about protecting the kids at BHS. Do the right thing this time around.

    Brad Fox

  64. Alameda County Sheriff Officers already have uniforms and would be real deterrents to crime. Four Sheriff officers would do more for school security than 14 or 20 of these amateurs. If the district is serious about safety they will bring real public safety professionals: The Sheriff. It’s time to stop wasting money on amateurs.