Susan Craig, Director of Student Services for BUSD, responded to our story last week which reported on remarks made by Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan about what he perceived as poor communication between the school district and the BPD. The article has generated more than 70 comments from readers to date. Craig’s comment was left on the story on May 6. Here is what she wrote:
I am writing to respond to several statements that Chief of Police Meehan was reported to have made.
1. Sharing of information between BPD and BUSD works both ways. There are different laws and regulations governing the release of information from each agency to the other which creates difficulty for each agency to obtain “good information”. For example, BUSD cannot obtain a police report of any kind, including a report taken of an incident on a BUSD campus, without going through a lengthy legal process.
2. Regarding robbery reports, I have spoken to Chief Meehan about the differences between penal code and education code requirements for robbery. Robberies in which there is force or a weapon are always reported to BPD. BUSD schools are to report all weapons, instances of serious injury, and drug sales to BPD.
3. I was surprised by the statement that the school district had not responded yet to a series of recommendations from BPD, as the District established an Ad Hoc Safety Committee that includes the BPD Sergeant in charge of Youth Services to develop an appropriate response to the recommendations. The District has already taken action regarding some of the recommended steps including adding an additional BPD School Resource Officer at BHS on Mondays, providing additional training for Safety Officers, and focusing increased attention and support for the highest risk youth. BUSD and BPD staff are meeting next week to review a possible funding opportunity to further our collaboration to increase safety measures.
4. Regarding the number of robberies and burglaries in the area involving juveniles since January, many arrests that take place outside of the school day are not reported to BUSD by BPD. This is another instance in which “good information” has not been shared.
BUSD and BPD have shared a positive collaborative relationship. While I am disappointed in the comments that were made by the Chief, I am confident that we will move forward and continue to have a strong partnership to address school and community safety.
Susan Craig, Ed.D., Director of Student Services, BUSD