Roswell Police Chief Alfonso Solis announced the return of student resource officers to Goddard High School, Monday.
â€œI have been studying the problem even before I got this job,â€ Solis said. He realized it was an issue when he worked as administrator at Chaves County Detention Center. â€œSome of these students will end up in the jail system.â€
Solis started talking to officials at Roswell Independent School District as CCDC administrator, and continued the discussions after taking his post as police chief on Jan. 14.
â€œI have been negotiating with the Roswell Independent School District, and Mr. Gottlieb notified me that it had been approved by the School Board.â€
He said that the placement of the first officer at Goddard is indirectly related to the theft of cell phones and several larcenies that have taken place in the high school. â€œIt would be a lie if I said that it had nothing to do with it.
We have had several incidents, but itâ€™s not the idea that we want to arrest students.Their primary job will be safety, and I think the majority of parents will approve,â€ he said. Goddard is the first school, but Solis plans to implement the program in Roswell and University high schools as soon as the RPD has enough staff.
He hopes to have an officer dedicated to each school. Student resource officers were removed from the schools in December 2007 by a joint decision of the RPD and RISD following a controversy over the deportation of a Roswell high school student. Karina Acosta, 18, was taken from class on Dec. 5, 2007, regarding a traffic violation.
Acosta was given several days to provide proper identification after she was cited for driving without a license on Nov. 29, 2007, but failed to comply. RHS Student Resource Officer Charlie Corn notified immigration officials of her illegal status. She was transported to the Chaves County Detention Center and later deported to Mexico.
â€œThe controversy was before my time,â€ said Solis. As early as February 2009, RISD superintendent Michael Gottlieb said that he wouldn’t mind having the resource officers back on school grounds. Gottlieb told the Daily Record then, â€œThey provide a connection to the community and add a lot of support.â€ Solis would agree.
He believes that reintroducing the program will enhance community relations and produce a greater connectedness between the youth of Roswell and the police.