District and Public Safety Working Collaboratively In Our Schools

Creating a safe and supportive environment in our schools is essential to ensuring students’ academic and social success.  To that end, the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Sunnyvale School District (SSD) are committed to collaboratively working together to ensure school campuses safety.  We strive to accomplish this goal through partnership with students and parents.  We also recognize that school safety involves safe practices both on and off campus.

Violent acts on school grounds have become more frequent across the nation, particularly incidents involving the use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon.  These types of events highlight the need for proactive efforts in education of firearm regulations, safety measures, reporting options, response preparedness and immediate enforcement action.  This is an area where we cannot afford to lose focus!

Parents and guardians are an essential part of helping keep students safe by keeping guns out of the hands of children as required by California law.  There have been many news reports across the country of children bringing guns to school.  Many times the child has obtained the weapon from their home.  These incidents can be easily prevented by storing firearms in a safe and secure manner, including keeping them locked up when not in use and storing them separately from ammunition.

The DPS Crime Prevention Unit (CPU) provides direct support to each school throughout the City with a staff of four officers (Neighborhood Resource Officers, or NROs) and one lieutenant on a full-time basis.  This level of staffing allows the Department to establish strong relationships with the schools to ensure that problems or concerns are quickly identified and addressed.  CPU works with the school districts to provide prevention programs such as Drug and Alcohol Awareness, Digital Safety (Cyber Bullying), Gang Awareness, Teen Domestic Violence, Stranger Awareness and “Choices,” a course that gives students tools to overcome peer pressure and make good decisions. These programs combined with a steady physical presence by our officers at our schools helps our students navigate the challenges they face.

In the unlikely event of an incident on or near a school campus, DPS will work with SSD to push out pertinent information as soon as possible.  This can include information on school lock-downs, active police incidents near schools, shelter in place advisories, and information for parents regarding staging and unification areas after an incident on a school campus.

DPS utilizes the Alert SCC (County emergency alert system), the Reverse 911 system (automated phone calls to specific geographical areas) and Nixle (community messaging via text, web, and email) to send out alerts, advisories and community messages.  Nixle is the primary community communication system utilized by DPS to send out critical information, advisories and community messages. We encourage everyone to sign up for the free Nixle service at www.nixle.com.

Working together as students, parents, school administrators, public safety officials and community members, we can continue to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all!

Written by Dr. Benjamin H. Picard, Superintendent of Schools and Frank J. Grgurina, Chief of Public Safety 

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