Oakland Unified losing 24 school security officers next school year due to budget cuts
OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - It's not uncommon to see a uniformed security officer walking the halls at many Oakland schools.
Besides keeping your children safe, many of them serve as friend, mentors, and confidants.
"We get to know them almost like they are our own children, because we spend so much time around them. So we automatically know when something is not right," says Oakland Unified School Security Officer Humphrey Garrett.
In the fall, 24 Oakland Unified security officers will be laid off as the district deals with $22 million in budget cuts.
One parent says the teacher's jobs were saved with the strike while others were left out.
"They don't want to pay them. They want to pay the teachers to keep them in the district. I think it's going to be a mess when they lose all the security guards. 24 that's a lot," says Oakland Unified Parent Tamara Brooks.
"Everybody has to take a certain hit when it comes to the layoff process and we're not exempt from that," says Oakland School Police Chief Jeff Godown.
The security officers fall under the leadership of Godown. Five years ago when he took over the department, he had more than 100 school security officers.
That number will drop to 57 this coming school year.
Still, the chief feels the students will be protected. "The schools will be safe. I look forward to next year. I'm pretty comfortable with the redeployment. I don't think there will be a drastic safely issue with the loss of the 24," says Godown.
"I understand cuts but now we got to figure out what's most important. And I don't know how they're figuring it. But to me we should be the last ones," says Garrett.
The chief says a majority of the cuts are happening at the elementary schools with little to no change at high schools.
He says cuts aren't something he wants, it's just the hand he was dealt
"I would like to maintain those 24. I would have liked to kept the 100 that I had in 2014. But like everywhere else there are budget cuts," says Godown
The chief has the authority to move his 57 officers around next year if he feels a greater need for security at different campuses next year.
He says for areas where there will be no security officers.
His police force is just a phone call away.