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Police presence near campus increases for student safety

Districts collaborates with police department to provide better security

Police+cars+at+the+Oak+Park+high+school+exit.
Police cars at the Oak Park high school exit.

Police cars at the Oak Park high school exit.

Angus Hsieh/Talon

Angus Hsieh/Talon

Police cars at the Oak Park high school exit.

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There has been an increase in the amount of law enforcement around Oak Park school campuses since the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

The rise in police presence comes in the midst of recent school-shootings along with a threat made to Oak Park High School during the summer of 2018.

The Oak Park Unified School District has been in contact with the local police department to collaborate and provide more safety to its students.

“We’ve been working closely with our Ventura County deputy sheriffs, especially since the Parkland shooting and the threats we had over the summer,” Principal Kevin Buchanan said. “My understanding is that the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department has stepped up patrols over the schools––they’ve always been responsive to us––but also asked their deputies to be more visible around schools.”

Police officers patrol the Oak Park area during all times of the day, including early morning hours and late after midnight.

Deputy N. Juarez explained that the goal of his shifts are to establish a prominent presence around the schools. Currently, he is working daytime shifts, but has in past also worked during nighttime.

“When I work during the day, I will be out there every single day from morning until the afternoon when [the students] get out, being high profile and making sure my presence is seen there,” Juarez said. “ The city of Oak Park has six schools. To divvy up my time amongst all the schools– I can’t be everywhere at the same time– so when it comes to the morning or the afternoon I try to focus my time at Oak Park High School or at Medea Creek [Middle School].

This new school security effort is a part of a new ongoing direction that Oak Park High School is taking to ensure student safety to last throughout the year and into the indefinite future.

Although both the Huffington Post and Washington Post have reported that the research over the effectiveness of police officers on campus to deter school-related threats are still inconclusive and conflicting, students at Oak Park High School have expressed that they do in fact feel safer.

According Junior Alyssa Agdamag, she has already started to experience the increased sense of safety around school.

“I do feel a lot safer–I think it’s necessary to have them on campus. There [have] been many shootings around the U.S. and police being here would reduce the risk of having a shooting on campus,” Agdamag said.

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