Police task force discusses SROs and student input


Emily McNally

In yesterday’s meeting, the police task force met to discuss SROs.

The newly created Los Altos police task force met to discuss the presence of student resource officers (SROs) at Los Altos High School and to review the citizen complaint intake process in a meeting last night. Captain Katherine Krauss from the Los Altos Police Department was in attendance to answer questions from the task force.

At a previous meeting, the task force resolved to send out a survey to LAHS students about their interactions with SROs, and a subcommittee has drafted a preliminary version of that survey since then.

A main point during the meeting was who to make the survey available to — since freshmen have never been on campus for school, and as a result, the committee considered limiting the survey to only older students. This was ultimately decided against because some freshmen may have interacted with SROs in middle school. 

Additionally, according to Krauss, SROs can come onto campus “out of service,” meaning an SRO can be present on campus without being called.

Currently, complaints can either be filed as “formal” or “informal” during the complaint intake process; a formal complaint merits an investigation, often involving follow-up interviews with whoever lodged the complaint. An informal complaint is noted, but no official action is taken from the LAPD.

Task force members pointed out that informal complaints are often not disclosed to the public, which may influence whether the complaint is formal or not. As multiple members of the task force pointed out during the meeting, in theory, if three citizens had all lodged complaints against the same officer, they may believe that their interaction was a unique incident, when it may actually be a recurring issue. Currently, the LAPD deals with all informal complaints internally.

Another concern of members was pressure from LAPD to file complaints as informal. Although no evidence was presented to support such a claim, many supported the idea of an independent complaint intake group. 

The task force meets every Wednesday at 4 p.m., and will continue to discuss these issues at future meetings.