Wednesday, October 19, 2011

DCSS School Police On the Job??

Approx. 200 DCSS School Police Officers. 2 Chiefs (yes, two chiefs for one department). 9 Detectives. 4 Admin Assistants.

Computers stolen so often Tony Hunter automatically replaces them and doesn't even keep track on how much it costs the system. School air conditioning units stolen without investigation. MARTA Police Officers catch truant DeKalb Alternative School students with DCSS School Police nowhere to be found.

No return on investment. Mediocrity Defined. Simply Embarassing.

(And I still don't know what the heck they do during the summer and holiday breaks).

Break-ins plague Chamblee Charter high school

Nearly a dozen break-ins have plagued the school in recent months with thieves walking away with computers, keyboards, calculators and other electronics and equipment.

Five of the thefts occurred over the Labor Day holiday weekend and six over the Columbus Day weekend, according to Channel 2 Action News.

The targets have been the 32 mobile classrooms students and teachers have been using as the construction continues around them on Chamblee Dunwoody Road.

Teachers in the classrooms are increasingly frustrated over the thefts. They say they want to feel secure and want assurances that the district is doing all it can to prevent future break-ins. They are also concerned the missing equipment won’t be replaced.

District spokesman Walter Wood said a dollar figure has yet to be attached to the missing equipment, but he said the district is taking steps to increase security. He said additional patrols are being made and motion sensor alarms and new fencing locks are being installed.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

ruuuuun! run away! now!

Cerebration said...

This really has gotten ridiculous. Henderson MS was robbed of many, many computers and other tech items. Some guy was caught fencing one of the laptops, but I don't believe it was ever traced to the original thief. Also, last summer we had serious issues with thefts of new AC units for the copper. Nobody seems to have ever been caught doing any of this. Worse, the schools are told that the system is self-insured and there is no money for replacements. (Maybe King & Spalding could lend some... JK.)

Atlanta Media Guy said...

What the heck does two chiefs and 9 detectives do? What is the mission of the DCSS Police? I'm glad we have security personnel in the Middle and High Schools. However, if there is a problem with break-ins shouldn't the DCSS Police set-up a post, around those PORTABLES with an officer, to help protect the property?

Maybe we need to start insuring the property that taxpayers have paid for. Maybe we should fire the two chiefs and hire ONE that can do the job. Once again it's a DCSS trait, too many chiefs and not enough officers. Sound familiar? All this is just another money grab by the friends and family of DCSS. How many friends and family of BOE members and the "sit up here" staff are employed by the DCSS police force? I'm just asking......

Anonymous said...

@AMG re: high school security
Lakeside, which has the largest student population (roughly 1935)and construction galore, has an SRO assigned that's on the K9 unit. He is out of the buildig every Wednesday for training and most of Friday. In addition, he has to leave campus to do the routine lockdowns throughout the county. Students quickly learn his patterns and when he's there and when he isn't. Since he is there less than half the time, they can't count on him in an emergency. I hear the campus security staff isn't physically capable of handling an emergency. If there is a real emergency and it goes poorly, DCSS likely will find themselves with more lawsuits.

Anonymous said...

oops...meant "building"

Anonymous said...

What do you mean Tony Hunter replaces them? Is this the friends, family and politics game? Briarlake didn't have any of ours replaced. Henderson Middle hasn't had any of theirs replaced. Which school has? He can't pick and choose which school gets "special" treatment.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Wow! At our middle school we have two full time security personnel. I assume they fall under the DCSS Police Dept. During the lunch hour an additional Police officer stands at the ready in the cafeteria.

I wonder why we need more security at a Middle School and not at a large High School, currently under construction? Can someone explain the policy of policing DCSS properties, administration and students?

Anonymous said...

Your infromation is either dated or wrong. DeKalb County according to the US Census is 270.9 square miles. The school system has 143 schools and centers to protect not counting some other facilities open and closed. That's is less than one officer per square mile or one and one third officer per facility. In order to provide round the clock live protection of one officer one would need 4 plus officers at each site (7*24=168; 168/40=4+). The school system budget posted on their web site says that Investigative services division of 8 detectives amounts to 5% of the total budget (p 828). The budget is a million dollars less than it was two years ago and 85% the budget goes to either SROs or Campus Supervisors assigned to specific school locations. Their primary duty in a 40 hour work week is to provide security when students, teachers, or the public is in the building. The budget also does not list the word "chief", there is a director of public safety and a listing for an interim director of public safety. The web site for public safety only lists the interim director as a contact. With over 143 locations and opportunities for theft and a staff that can only cover the facilities when they are opne because student safety is more important than anything it is no wonder that there is some theft. With 8 dectectives to stake out 143 locations one might be hard pressed to be in the right place at the right time.

BhutrasGolly said...

Sound to me like School Watch could provide a useful service by watching a school.

Anonymous said...

How odd that so many laptops are disappearing from our schools. I'm not hearing that these kinds of break-ins and burglaries are happening to this level at regular businesses around the county. There are laptops just about everywhere. Why do the ones at schools continue to disappear?

Atlanta Media Guy said...

hey Bhutras! There are several of us that do watch the school property where our kids attend. We even help keep it clean and nice. Plus, there are several of us Moms and Dads who helped set up and train the DCSS employees how to use the technology they have access to. The folks at the Palace can't seem to have any training time available for the people that actually use the technology.

Hopefully someday we can have a real IT Dept. One that will be held accountable, because the current one seems to be failing, according to Dr. Atkinson.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be surprised if the burglaries that we have experienced from AC units, to lap tops, to computers, projectors, calculators, and the works, is not an inside job.

At Anon 3:04pm Student safety might not be such a problem if discipline was actually handled and children who did not come to school to learn were sent to an alternative location and out of our public schools. Officers wouldn't need to be at schools 24/7, just actual security systems and cameras working in the schools and outside. Paying a company to monitor the schools after hours would be way cheaper than paying a person's salary and benefits. I've seen better security for CRCT tests this past year, than the expensive equipment that will not be replaced when stolen. Which will better our children's learning?

@ Atlanta Media Guy A real IT department will not be found at DCSS until the friends and family members are gone. They control way too much of what happens are in their positions for the salaries and benefits and not for the children. I don't see a real IT department where teachers are actually trained to use the equipment that we have for some time to come. We've spent millions already on programs that do no do as they were touted, and no one has lost their job for making such a purchase-which would happen in the private sector. The training that I received while at DCSS was the worst that I had received in my tenure as a teacher. Most of the time those doing the training knew about what I did about computers, which isn't much.

Spending more money on IT which is a broken department in my opinion, isn't going to make matters better until the problems with the department and better trained people are running the department. Not sure that will happen with Atkinson. I'd honestly much prefer to be letting people go, and paying their salaries for the remainder of the contract and looking for new people, than waiting to see what is going to happen in the spring and wait for the rumor mill to begin. If she showed that she was going to make change, I believe that SPLOST would win hands down. Right now I am not so sure.

Open+Transparent said...

Hey Anon October 20, 2011 3:04 PM,

-So what do school police officers do on all the days when school isn't in session (summer, breaks, holidays, etc.)?

-How many computers have been stolen from DCSS facilities over the past two years?

-How many HVAC units have been stolen from DCSS facilities?

-You can list all the square miles DCSS owns, but SRO's NEVER EVER walk around the entire grounds of DCSS Facilities. The homeless encampment at Cross Keys is example No. 1. There are area's throughout the grounds of my neighborhood school that have never ever been walked by a SRO.

-How does the School Police Dept. patrol all the non-school properties, like Heritage, where the back grounds have teenagers openly drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana.

-What are the training and fitness requirements? Are SRO's actual police officers who went through an academy? Is there one SRO who can run a mile under 10 minutes?

-Why does the MARTA Police Dept. catch truants DAILY from the DeKalb Alternative School, and those same MARTA officers state they get no help from DCSS School Police Dept. staff?


SOLUTIONS:

Hire retired police to be SRO's. Pay them a great hourly rate, but do not pay them benefits and pnsions as most are only needed for the 180 school days of the year.

Post online every crime and theft committed at a DCSS facility.

Have the School Police Dept. head speak at two to three BOE meetings per year with a report.

Post the fitness requirements of SRO's, the detectives and School Police Dept. Staff (please tell me there are fitness requirements!!).

Explain what in the heck the 8 detectives actually do, and why DCSS has double the size school police dept. of Gwinnett's, which is a much larger school system.

Explain why this department is untouchable budget and staff-wise?
Shine some sunlight on this deaprtment!


Gene Walker's son is a SRO. That department needs a full forensic and personnell audit, and new leadership, but it ain't going to happen with Gene Walker around.

Megan said...

I'm all for scrutiny of way resources are used throughout DCSS, including the police force. However, I have to ask: why was expensive tech equipment being stored over a holiday weekend in portable classrooms?

I teach in another DeKalb high school that recently underwent construction. Our teachers were required to bring DCSS equipment into the building any time they left the portable. Computers and projectors were carted in and out several times a day. It sucked. We were frustrated at carrying a laptop in a bag to come inside and use the restroom. But at least the stuff wasn't stolen.

C'mon Chamblee, be smart. My grandma could open the locked door of a portable classroom. Don't leave expensive stuff out in those rooms.