Find­ing a way to con­nect

Deputy finds pos­i­tives in­stead of neg­a­tives in his role as SRO

The Signal - - FRONT PAGE - By Christina Cox Sig­nal Staff Writer

Ed­i­tor’s Note: This is the third of six pro­files of the six School Re­source Of­fi­cers that work in schools through­out the SCV.

Cur­rently in his 16th year with the Los An­ge­les County Sher­iff’s Depart­ment, Deputy Javier Guzman knew he wanted to be a School Re­source Of­fi­cer five years ago.

“When I was work­ing pa­trol I al­ways found it was easy talk­ing to kids,” Guzman said. “When this job came up I put in for it and it worked out so far, so that’s good.”

As a SRO at Hart High School and Placerita Ju­nior High School and as a li­ai­son for the Ne­whall School Dis­trict, Guzman goes out of his way to in­ter­act with ev­ery sin­gle stu­dent.

“I’m not one of those yellers and I pretty much talk to ev­ery­one even if they don’t talk to me,” he said. “You see that kid whose up in the cor­ner and no one is talk­ing to, I’ll go talk to them.”

Each day, Guzman ar­rives at the school be­fore the day be­gins to sur­vey the cam­pus, speak to staff and see if there is any­thing press­ing to at­tend to. He also walks around each cam­pus dur­ing lunch and brunch to make sure ev­ery­thing is go­ing well.

“I al­ways tell peo­ple that 99 per­cent of our con­tacts with peo­ple are not neg­a­tive, they’re ac­tu­ally pos­i­tive,” he said. “A lot of the stuff does not in­volve po­lice ac­tion. A lot of it in­volves coun­sel­ing and I think I do a de­cent job at do­ing that.”

In his role, Guzman has also found

a way to con­nect with the school’s Span­ish-speak­ing fam­i­lies who come to him when they do not feel com­fort­able call­ing the sta­tion.

“I’ve ac­tu­ally given out my phone num­ber,” Guzman said. “There’s a lot of stuff where fam­i­lies have specif­i­cally wanted to speak with me about that they weren’t com­fort­able talk­ing with other peo­ple… I hope that I’ve been able to help out.”

Guzman also hopes that his pres­ence on cam­pus has changed stu­dents’ per­spec­tive of law en­force­ment and made them more com­fort­able speak­ing to him about prob­lems they are hav­ing.

“Just be­cause we’re the po­lice doesn’t mean we’re tak­ing you to jail, we want to make sure you’re safe,” he said.

For Guzman, the most re­ward­ing part of the job is see­ing stu­dents who were strug­gling dur­ing high school re­turn and thank him for help­ing them dur­ing the past four years.

“That’s cool when I’ve had 20 year olds come back to me and tell me their sto­ries,” he said. “It’s en­cour­ag­ing.”

Katharine Lotze/The Sig­nal

School Re­source Of­fi­cer Javier Guzman talks with stu­dents at Hart High School on Aug. 28.

Katharine Lotze/The Sig­nal

School Re­source Of­fi­cer Javier Guzman talks with stu­dents at Hart High School on Aug. 28.

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