District to increase campus access for cops

District to increase campus access for cops
From left to right: CUSD Board Vice President Ann Tanner, City Councilmember Keith Blackburn, Mayor Pro Tem Mark Packard, CUSD Board President Elisa Williamson, Superintendent Suzette Lovely, and City Manager John Coates discuss matters of school campus security, noise issues, bike lanes, and Common Core at the July 31 Carlsbad city/schools quarterly meeting. Photo by Rachel Stine

CARLSBAD — After a campus robbery weeks prior, Carlsbad Unified School District (CUSD) officials agreed to look into providing Carlsbad Police officers with keys to schools to enhance security.The move came at the Carlsbad city/schools quarterly meeting on July 31 as district members met with city staff to discuss mutual issues and potential partnerships.

Police responded to a robbery at Carlsbad High School shortly after 1 a.m. on July 21, and arrested seven juveniles who had burglarized the campus concession stand.

“It was a really unfortunate thing that happened but the response (from the police) was positive and quick,” said Superintendent Suzette Lovely, and she reviewed the incident with city staff.

She noted, however, that the incident revealed the fact that Carlsbad Police have no way to access the district’s locked campuses in case of emergency or crime.

The Carlsbad Police officers were only able to respond to the July 21 incident because campus security was present and had unlocked an entrance.

Lovely said that the district planned to provide master keys to one of the sergeants and campus resource officers in case of future incidents.

Councilmember Keith Blackburn, a retired Carlsbad Police sergeant, noted that one key in the department kept by a staff member who only worked Monday through Friday would not help officers out in the field responding to a school incident.

Instead he suggested that the district consider providing keys to all police officers, to which Lovely agreed to consider seriously.

In addition to the security matter, city and school district representatives also discussed the concerns of residents who live near Carlsbad schools’ campuses.

School neighbors regularly complain about noise issues from campus activities according to Lovely.

She said that on the whole the district has been able to address this matter until a recent incident on July 28.

The school district received complaints from neighbors about a Lightning Soccer Club tournament held at Carlsbad High School.

Upon investigation, Lovely confirmed that the event had not been sanctioned by the school district or the city, and that the tournament goers had somehow gained unauthorized access to campus. She said that once the district confirms how the school gates had been opened, the situation would be remedied and prevented from happening again.

Possibly adding bike lanes around school campuses and partnering to spread more information about Common Core to the general public were additionally brought up and noted for the next meeting so that city staff had the opportunity to look into both matters.

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