Is Police Presence Necessary?

Is Police Presence Necessary?
Posted by FoM on June 18, 2000 at 13:02:53 PT
From the Journal Sentinel
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
What problem is the Waukesha School Board trying to solve by agreeing to put police officers in its high schools? Gang activity doesn't seem to be out of hand; violence doesn't seem to be a fact of daily life; the majority of kids don't walk down the hallways swinging chains or waving knives.School Board President William Domina says the police presence may bring down the number of expulsions, which reached a new high, 43, in the last school year, most for drug-related offenses.
"We're trying to readdress it (drug problems) because we're not winning the war," he said in support of his vote to accept a federal grant to put three officers in the schools for a minimum of four years.Domina's wrong on two counts: First, at least nationally, we are winning the war. Drug use is down significantly from its height in the mid-1980s. Even the latest fads in drugs - inhalants and Ecstasy - are beginning to flatten out. Second, the way to win the war is through parental involvement, education, prevention and treatment programs. Enforcement helps, but what really works is changing the attitudes of kids.The instinct behind the federal COPS program is a good one. Creating more interaction between kids and police serves a useful purpose. Besides, schools and police should always be looking for avenues of greater cooperation. But that interaction ought to take place in the neighborhoods; moreover, that cooperation shouldn't blur the lines between education and police work.Where such a program is necessary, it makes sense. That doesn't seem to be the case in Waukesha - at least, not yet.Furthermore, given the financial crunch facing the school district, its decision to join in financing the program - $200,000 over the four years - means that every dollar spent on an officer in the schools is a dollar less for computers, programs and building maintenance, all dire needs of the district. Until the district has the financial wherewithal to meet those needs, it should be conserving money where it can.The program is a partnership between the schools and the city and will require Common Council approval to share the cost before it can be initiated. A council committee voted, 4-1, against spending the money. That seems the more prudent course.Published: June 18, 2000. Copyright 2000, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Related Articles & Web Site:Drug Policy Forum Of Wisconsin: Site Map To Lose DARE Middle Schoolers Shock Leaders into Action Articles On Wisconsin News Topics:
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Comment #1 posted by CD1 on June 19, 2000 at 11:24:08 PT
Cops in Schools
A generation ago, if I had read this article, I would have thought it would refer to Cuba or East Germany, but this is the U.S.A. I remember when the "land of the free" was a common phrase to refer to our nation. No more. Cops in schools, how frightening.The author claims that "we are winning" the war on drugs. If this is true, why does DEA Czar Gen. McCaffrey cry to Congress once a quarter to say he is getting beat up on the internet, and that drug use is up in high school. Drug use can not be up and down at the same time. The only evidence that I have seen that of "winning" the war on drugs is the number of people in prison on drug charges has increased dramatically. But is this really "winning"? 
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