SAFE Asks City Council to Vote Against COPS Grant
Update: The City Council voted to accept the COPS grant. All but one of the speakers spoke against having SROs in Schools.
Last week, Students And Families for Education (SAFE) helped defeat the proposal to spend $1.7 of the San Leandro School District’s education fund on police in schools. Tonight, the San Leandro City Council votes on accepting the COPS Grant.
In addition to requiring the city spend money on new police positions, the grant proposal lays out Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli‘s plan to use the grant money to start a program of identifying and monitoring children labeled as “at risk” by the SLPD, beginning in elementary school. SLPD also proposes to track children through social media and private messaging systems.
The money requirement of the COPS Grant will spend much of the Measure HH funds on a few police, without public transparency. This is not how the tax measure was sold to San Leandro citizens.
SAFE invites all concerned parents, students and community member to come out tonight to the City Council meeting at 7pm to express opposition to this surveillance plan and misuse of funds in San Leandro.
The following is the SLPD’s planned used for the COPS grant funds, as stated in page 10, item 14 of the COPS grant application (emphasis added):
The San Leandro Police Department is committed to improving its technology capabilities, both as it relates to monitoring and public communications. We feel strongly that it is essential to understand and use technology that our youth are reliant on in today’s expanding technological world. The four additional SRO officers would be tasked with working with the city’s technology experts to create an online system that can monitor youth from first signs of risk through the school system. As school administration and officers change, this would enable our SROs to know when to check-in with youth, engage them in positive opportunities and connect them to necessary preventive services. Our goal is to build relationships in elementary school years that last through graduation. It is essential for information to be readily available to SROs and to be able to save and monitor data/changes to enable the SRO time to interact with students and develop positive trust-based relationships. The additional SROs will the SLPD time to be actively involved in the community, identifying and discovering how to best work with and engage youth as well as the community and establishing a positive rapport. With funding, the SLPD also plans to increase its use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat) to monitor youth activities as well as communicate with students and our community. We plan to utilize posts on these sites to alert the public about available activities and warn them of threats.