Kern County Sheriff

Two Taft school districts will be without school resource officers after the Kern County Bard of Supervisors approved a proposal by Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood to end the program

Youngblood says the KCSO is badly understaffed for patrol deputies and he needs to put the officers currently working in the schools back on the street.

The Taft Union High School District and Taft City School District are among six in the county that contract with the county for SROs.

Taft Union Supt. Jason Hodgson indicated his district wants to continue with some sort of law enforcement presence and is looking at all its options.

" Currently, TUHSD is working on plans to continue partnering with a School Officer in some shape or form starting in February 2022," he said in an email.

Prior to contracting with Taft Police and the Kern County Sheriff's Office for SROs, the Kern County Department of Juvenile Probation had a presence on campus.

Most recently, the SRO for the high school has been deputy Joe Gregory, and Hodgson said the district will miss him.

"As most in our community know, Deputy Gregory is a tremendous asset to Taft High and a vital part of our community both from a safety standpoint as well as an active parent-partner," Hodgson said

Taft City School District Superintendent Julie Graves said she had no comment since the district had not been formally notified.

The others are Greenfield Union, Standard, Edison elementary school districts and Wasco Union High.

Both Taft city and Taft Union have contracted for SROs for many years.

Both, at one time contract with Taft Police for a time, but that ended after a lawsuit was filed by the TUHSD in the wake of a January 2013 shooting on the TUHS campus.

As a result, insurance carriers for the schools and the city haven't been able to agree on contract language.

The school resource officer contract are annual contracts that can be cancelled by either side with 90 days notice.

The Board of Supervisors approved Youngblood's request to end the current contracts on Jan. 30.