Home Antioch Antioch City Council Could Vote to Rescind School Resource Officer Grant

Antioch City Council Could Vote to Rescind School Resource Officer Grant

by ECT
Antioch Police Officers

On Tuesday, the Antioch City Council will discuss whether or not to reconsider a school resource officer grant that would provide schools with officers to help improve safety.

The School Resource Officer Grant was approved over the summer by both the Antioch City Council and Antioch Unified School District in contentious 3-2 votes by both elected bodies—who agreed to split the $3.2 million cost.

According to the Agenda, the council on Tuesday has the following three options:

  1. The City Council can adopt a resolution rescinding its acceptance of the US Department of Justice COPS grant.
  2. The City can reduce the number of SRO’s
  3. The City Council can opt to take no action

It was announced in June that the Antioch Police were awarded the $750k grant from the US Department of Justice COPS hiring Program which would cost the city an estimated $125,667 per police officers for a total of $754,002 for six positions—which would be split with the Antioch Unified School District.

Following the three-year school resource officer grant cycle, Antioch Police would be required to retain these positions for at least one year and Antioch Police would be required to fund the positions of $41,667 per police officer initially covered by the grant.

The agreement for the split cost between the City came after multiple contentious meetings which were flooded with public comments causing multiple meetings to occur.

Ultimately, the Antioch City Council approved the grant in a 3-2 vote with Sean Wright, Lori Ogrochock and Joy Motts in support, with Lamar Thorpe and Monica Wilson dissenting.

The grant was part of an effort to make the school district safer after calls for school resource officers and more police presence on campus after a fatal shooting in February. However, Thorpe said during the July meeting that youth do not want SRO’s.

Councilmember Lamar Thorpe highlighted how the school district was cutting positions and Antioch was an under resourced District. Thorpe stated his perspective was much different than the mayors saying over the past decade he has not heard the community want school resource officers.

“What I have heard is they do want youth programs, what I have heard is they want mental health specialist, what I have heard is they want opportunities to ensure our young people are being diverted onto the right path and out of trouble,” stated Thorpe. “As a parent, I have a different perspective, I don’t want my daughter going to a school where there are police officers. I think school is for learning and education.”

Thorpe noted in the face of the $1.8 million cut the Antioch Unified School District recently made, eliminating 28-positions, he could not support this proposal.

“We can certainly ask the school district to fund this if they find this important in lieu of the 28-positions they cut, but I find it very problematic that we would go in this direction,” stated Thorpe who suggested they should postpone this until the district decides if it wants to fund this.

He further continued.

“This one is giving me a lot of heartburn because this is contrary to what I think people are demanding in our country, in our state, and in our community right here in Antioch,” stated Thorpe.

Wilson, who voted no on the grant, stated the following:

Councilmember Monica Wilson asked about School Resource Officer training in which Brooks replied that officers would be required to take a 48-hour training course through the Association of School Resource Officers—a basic course. Brooks said this course is “current” and noted there is ongoing training.

Wilson shot back at the Chief stating 48-hours versus someone who has already gone to school and spent years training in trauma and mental illness. Brooks interjected saying they were not going to get new officers, this would be senior officers on staff who have gone through training over the years on desecration, cultural awareness and other training.

“I am not one to use our police officers as mental health experts and one of the things from the 700 emails we got back in June, I heard repeatedly our police officers are not social workers,” stated Wilson who continued stating she was surprised this did not go to the school district first.

Wilson stated she would prefer looking at other solutions but could not vote for these six officers when students were asking for counselors.

During the meeting, Joy Motts was the split vote and supported a substitute Motion made by Ogorchock which would approve the grant should the Antioch Unified School District approve splitting the cost with the city.

Editors Comment:

Much like Joy Motts, it would appear that given Mike Barbanica’s history in law enforcement, he would support the grant which would make newly elected City Councilemmber Tamisha Torres-Walker the deciding vote on whether to keep the grant or to rescind it.

It is also unclear if City Clerk Ellie Householder will have to recuse herself from this item as she previously voted on this and is an active Trustee on the Antioch School Board.

City Council to Also Discuss Bridging the Gap Virtual Roundtable Discussions

The City of Antioch has hired CNA (a non-profit) who is prepping for a planned launch in 2021 to host a series of roundtable discussions to better understand racial injustice and police-community relations. After completion of this series, a set of recommendations for the city council will be shared at a future public meeting.

Roundtables will include the following topics:

  1. Police Oversight, Accountability, and Transparency
  2. Racial Disparities in policing
  3. Police Community Engagement.

The meetings will be limited to 75 participates (advanced registration required) in which materials will be shared prior to the gathering.  Meetings will last approximately 90-minutes.  Due to the Brown Act, the Mayor and City Council Members roles are proposed as observation only.

Meeting Information:

  • Antioch City Council – Special Meeting
  • December 15 at 5:15pm
  • Agenda – click here
  • Public Comments: If you wish to make a public comment, you may do so any of the following ways: (1)by filling out an online speaker card, located at https://www.antiochca.gov/speaker_card  ,(2)by emailing the City Clerk prior to or during the meeting at [email protected] , or (3)by dialing(925) 776-3057 during the meeting.

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Bill Moon Dec 13, 2020 - 9:56 am

Antioch was warned this was Lamar Thorpes and co prerogative. You get what you deserve Antioch, a less safe city and less safe schools. All the hard work since 2012 is down the drain. You get what you asked for, a complete idiot running the city.

Nancy Dec 13, 2020 - 10:46 am

I’m surprised this is an approach being taken. Antioch has earned a reputation for being an unsafe city to live in, to go to school in & to shop in. I think the position the new mayor and Wilson took is counter to the solutions our community wants. Mr Thorpe himself doesn’t send his own child to public school, which is fine but frankly it reveals his own privilege & disconnection from the whole situation. If it felt safe to live here & go to school here Antioch would have improved safety, more people shopping here & more people moving here that parent & nurture their kids in the schools. As a parent able to send his child to private school he has lost touch with his own roots that he takes pride in. If he was more understanding of the terrible situation less affluent constituents experience he would understand the fear of sending your children to schools that have had a history & have demonstrated a need for school resource officers. As someone that got elected he has the responsibility to work with everyone, even those that opposed him including the police and folks within the school district. Both Thorpe & Wilson have ambitions, let’s see if they can get out of their own way and do the right thing. Otherwise we will be dealing with the same old same.

Karen Dec 13, 2020 - 11:16 am

Congratulation’s Antioch City Council on making the city less safe. Shame on Lamar Thorpe and Monica Wilson. While the voters get what they voted in, many did not support Thorpe and should not suffer from his incompetence . Recall within 6 months cannot come fast enough.

DaTruth Dec 13, 2020 - 12:12 pm

So let get this right. Everyone complains when under Mayor Wright’s admin there have been countless passes of cannabis dispensary approved and he has let the 18th st corridor and other vacant plaza go to rot? Where is the outcry on this? He’s left the new admin team with a bunch of problems in a beloved yet forgotten part of the city.

Melba Dec 13, 2020 - 12:14 pm

Have they gone crazy.. I was born and raised in Antioch, I hate these out siders coming in ruining our city..

mike orlando Dec 13, 2020 - 12:59 pm

More nonesene from Thorpe inc. Amtioch is the most unsafe city in east coco. Now bad ass kids get to behave like shit then cry about punishment and ask for rewards like programs. Programs are fine but plenty of the rest of us behave and find ztuff to do that isnt violent or criminal without programs. Read a damn book, exercise, find any hobby other than fighting and stealing

Greg Dec 13, 2020 - 3:46 pm

Antioch City Council has lost their mind. If I was a police officer in that city, I would be looking for a new department or career. I wouldn’t want to work for those clowns at City Hall.

Yeahright Dec 13, 2020 - 7:20 pm

Very sad, indeed. Antioch is not a safe place to live or go to school.
Almost one year ago, a student was murdered on campus after a school basketball game. If, just if there was law enforcement presence, that 16 year old might still be here celebrating the holidays with his family.
I encourage the Antioch city leaders to reconsider

Ant Dec 13, 2020 - 10:53 pm

As a parent I’d rather see my tax dollars spent on social workers and counselors in the schools. Every student can benefit from this resource… With a SRO how many students will benefit? The social workers and counselors can spot a problem student before any police intervention is necessary. This resource is also a layer of protection provided to the students and school professionals. The SRO can only help on the back end of a “problem” that has already gotten out of hand. Perhaps spend the money up front and you won’t have to spend it on the back end?

MEV Dec 14, 2020 - 12:54 am

This is a huge mistake given the shootings at Antioch High. School Resource officer can really help educate re conflict resolution, anger management, etc. Police are too busy, too removed, and can’t get there to save a life quick enough. Most shootings are by 18 and under lately. Really disappointed to read this.

LoveableCurmudgeon Dec 14, 2020 - 5:07 am

Anyone who has been anywhere near Antioch and Deer Valley high schools knows that some kind of police presence is needed in the immediate after school hours, and on game days. When the fights ( and worse) begin and PD has to be called to intervene, the wailing about SOMEONE needs to DO something to ” protect our kids” will begin, and those folks will be jamming the school board rooms and City Council chambers demanding safer schools. All the after school basketball programs in the world will not keep the schools safe

Monte Gregg Dec 14, 2020 - 5:09 am

As a former Principal the decision NOT to fund this grant would have given me pause to consider who actually cares about children. Some seem to forget that high schoolers are children. Their minds are not fully developed. This does not mean they should not ever have a voice, but the society I was raised in understood that ADULTS are fully responsible for insuring children are protected.

The staff at the schools also have a right to feel safe in their work environment. Other guests, parents and staff coming onto the campuses need to feel that same sense of safety. Resource officers are one important layer of that. I can recall a few times when my own ability to handle a situation was not enough and Resource officers responding to my request to assist were welcoming.

Yes schools are places to learn and to develop healthy social relationships. But adults must example that for them. Most children do conduct themselves according to rules and regulations as do parents. But for those who don’t and make others feel unprotected and distracted from learning because they become volatile, Resource Officers are necessary and appreciated.

When a person in a leadership role determines that children should make decisions for their well being, one may very well need to ask, does that person actually need to be in that role? Perhaps children should make those decisions as well and you could just eliminate the need for a Mayor.

Coastrider Dec 14, 2020 - 9:38 am

Don’t you think schools need counselors?? Maybe we can do both. We managed to hire the cop from San Francisco who killed the homeless man. Couldn’t find a better candidate.Worked out fine for cop as he was able to resign from the SFPD to avoid the discipline he was to be administered…had a job lined up in our city. Wow, this hire was an upgrade…smdh

Yeahright Dec 14, 2020 - 11:13 am

Monte Gregg, well said. Thank you!

MsKris Dec 14, 2020 - 2:16 pm

They need SROs, counselors and social workers! Wth! If you’re offered the grant take it, choose ofc that have backgrounds working with juveniles and bust your asses to get counselors and SWs back in the schools. These kids need as much attention, protection, guidance, mentoring and support as possible.

Ken Gardner Dec 14, 2020 - 4:29 pm

I usually stay out of the politics of both the district and the city, especially so since I retired. I do feel in this case perhaps I should lend my opinion. If you remember, I was the principal of DVHS, during my time we went through some turbulent times and the last four years were without any major incidents or issues. I am both a retired LEO and a retired educator.

I have worked at high schools with and without SROs. My preference was to have the SROs on campus, not necessarily for safety (which is a bonus), but rather to have a solid SRO of character who can establish relationships with the students and staff to build a bond of trust and to create community between the school community and the police, thus the city.

When you do so communication starts and perhaps understanding begins, we cannot always have an adversarial society and I would urge both the city council and the AUSD Board to vote to maintain the grant and the SROs.

Take Back our city Dec 14, 2020 - 7:41 pm


SORCERER Dec 17, 2020 - 1:44 am

COASTRIDER — That homeless man pulled a knife on his homeless neighbors and cut a few of them and someone called the police. When they arrived, the culprit continue to threaten more people with his knife until and refused to drop it when ordered many times. He then lunged at the police officer who shot him thus saving himself and others. Don’t put stuff out you know nothing about! STOP LYING!

Jg Dec 17, 2020 - 10:56 am

Why would any entity turn down grant money ?
This sounds political and is risking our children’s lives. If the council wants to make a BLM statement, fine but do not throw away free money that can only help our local schools.

MEV Dec 17, 2020 - 11:26 pm

One has to work in SF to truly understand how crazy out of their minds these transients are and what SFPD is up against. Ride BART! They all get on for free to sleep, as well as in the stations on your buck. SF was nice in the 70’s; it is disgusting now and everything was closing anyway before the Pandemic because of these transients causing so much damage and theft on Market and surrounding areas. Same old reoffenders too.

Nancy Hill Dec 19, 2020 - 2:43 am

MEV – Many of them are extremely belligerent and throw things at passers by. I had hot coffee tossed at me as I walked on the sidewalk south of Market. They also crap on the sidewalk in front of restaurant windows in full view of the people eating.

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