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College district negotiating with San Diego County Sheriff's Department

Posted on: Jul 9, 2013 1:00:00 AM
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Contact: Anne Krueger (619) 644-7842 anne.krueger@gcccd.edu

 The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District is negotiating a contract with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department to provide police services at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, a move that will improve coverage on the two East County campuses and provide access to the department’s specialized units.

The contract is expected to be brought to the district’s Governing Board when it meets at 6:30 p.m. July 23 at the Cuyamaca College Student Center. If approved, a sheriff’s sergeant will be stationed at the district, along with a team of deputies dedicated to each of the two campuses. Additional assistance will be provided by other sheriff’s deputies and specialists as needed.

“The recent shootings at Santa Monica College once again emphasize how vitally important it is for our campuses to have the most comprehensive police and emergency protection possible,” Chancellor Cindy L. Miles said. “This agreement with the Sheriff’s Department is the best way to ensure the safety and security of our students and employees, which is absolutely our top priority.”

The colleges’ police functions are currently served by district public safety officers, with after-hours patrols outsourced to a private security company. The department, which is now staffed by a supervisor, six officers, one dispatcher, and two clerical assistants, is responsible for providing police services for nearly 30,000 students and 2,000 employees at Grossmont College in El Cajon and Cuyamaca College in Rancho San Diego.

The district administration decided to consider partnering with the Sheriff’s Department after three assessments of the Public Safety Department by the district’s risk management and insurance carrier, a former El Cajon police chief and the Sheriff’s Department.

“Our Public Safety Department has done an excellent job, but it simply does not have the capacity to provide the tremendous range of law enforcement and emergency preparedness services that our campuses must have 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Miles said. “We've been lucky not to have a major incident, but, unfortunately, college campuses these days can be scenes of some of the worst kinds of crime. Not only do we need to provide a safe environment for people to learn and work, we also must look after our child development centers and thousands of campus visitors each year.  The Governing Board and the district have an immense responsibility to keep our campus community as safe as possible.”

As a result of the proposed agreement with the Sheriff’s Department, each campus would have dedicated deputies onsite, plus other deputies at the Santee and Rancho San Diego substations would be familiar with the Grossmont and Cuyamaca College campuses to assist in an emergency. The district also will have ready access to Sheriff’s Department specialized units that investigate crimes such as illegal drug sales, domestic violence, hate crimes, auto theft or gang-related crime.

Campus services such as parking enforcement, safety escorts and room unlocks will be handled by campus services personnel working for the district. Current district police officers who meet Sheriff’s Department standards will be offered jobs, and all others will be invited to join the district’s campus assistance and parking services.

The district is currently negotiating the contract with the Sheriff’s Department, but it is expected to cost less than the district would spend to provide the additional staffing, training, specialized investigative expertise, and equipment to meet escalating campus law enforcement and emergency preparedness needs.

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