Community Policing: How our SSFPD Supports our Youth via SSFUSD

South San Francisco, CA  July 25, 2021

Last March the South San Francisco Unified District School Board decided changes were necessary between the current relationship with our Police Department and our High Schools and selected Middle Schools. At a time many residents are lamenting they do not see enough opportunities for our youth to engage favorably with police, stating many kids only encounter police when there is a problem, there are others demanding we ‘defund’ the police. They say it ‘exists to feed the school-to-prison pipeline and leads to inequitable surveillance and intimidation of students from communities of color.’ However, many parents appreciate their kids getting to know our local officers in a positive way to lessen concerns when they see them outside of school. In addition some of our local youth have chosen a career in the Police department as they gained insight via the many programs offered, and becoming part of the Explorer Post.

A rather new group, Change SSF, has put their demands before our City Council who have been open to continued meetings in an effort to find common ground. While their list of demands include ‘defunding police’ they also acknowledge they don’t really mean ‘defund’, rather re-allocate monies to areas they believe will provide more inclusion and equity. {see their list below}

The School Board will be meeting with representatives from the Police department to identify ways they can move forward on a new MOU {memo of understanding} with the intent our youth be given the best pathways to be responsible and successful members of our community. There are several programs offered to our students at no cost to our School District, that have been benefited many including some listed below.

It is important that more of our community members have a chance to weight in on this issue because we know it does take a village to raise our youth. Some of the students and the Change SSF group have been very vocal, as has our School Board and officials, through out this past year while working on issues of concern.

If would be interesting to hear from others which community policing programs have you or your family found beneficial? What are your thoughts on the demands being made and how would you see a balanced outcome on these issues? Are there other areas of concern that you believe also need to be examined, if so, what are they?

If you are so inclined to voice your opinion, please send your letter/ emails to SSFUSD Board President Mrs. DAINA R. LUJAN  and  SSFPD Chief J. Azzopardi and our City Council

SSFUSD Board Agenda/ Minutes HERE

Here are some of the programs our Police offer to our students that may be removed:


Every 15 Minutes is a program that offers a real-life experience without the real-life risks, by simulating a fatal drunk driving collision using role players from the current student body at the local high schools. Every 15 Minutes is designed to dramatically instill teenagers with the potentially dangerous consequences of drinking alcohol and texting while driving. This program challenges students to think about drinking, texting while driving, personal safety, and the responsibility of making mature decisions when lives are involved. This program is presented to the junior and senior student body at South San Francisco High School and El Camino High School, rotating between the two schools each year.



Officer for the Day is an event that is auctioned off at several of the elementary schools in South San Francisco, during the school’s annual fundraising events. The winner of the auction receives a voucher to have their child picked up at their home with a police escort and driven to school.

When they arrive they are greeted by school staff and members from the police department. The child is allowed to be an “officer for the day” and is taken to the police department for lunch and for a private tour. This event has historically raised thousands of dollars for our local schools.


Each year our school liaison officers work with our elementary schools in organizing police department tours for the students. Hundreds of students are brought to the police department on field trips and given a tour to meet our officers and ask any questions they may have.


The South San Francisco Police Department implemented this program in 2005. GREAT was designed to help prevent elementary and middle school students from getting involved in gangs, and to mold them into becoming responsible members of their community. Some of the main goals of the GREAT program are to deter youth from delinquent behavior and violence. GREAT also teaches students how to set goals for themselves, learn how to resolve conflict, shows them how to resist peer and gang pressure, and explains how gang activity impacts the quality of their lives. Each student who completes the GREAT program is presented with a Certificate of Graduation. The School Liaison and
C.O.P.P.S. (Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving) officers teach the curriculum in South San Francisco’s elementary and middle schools.



Project “YES” is a program designed by the South San Francisco Police Department’s School Liaison Officers and is a supplement to the G.R.E.A.T. program. This program is five sessions long and is presented to all students in the 5th grade. It provides students with lessons on bullying, communication, decision making, on-line dangers, and substance abuse. This program allows the police and our students to build positive relationships.



Rights and Responsibilities is a class taught to high school students, by SSFPD School Liaison Officers, about making proper choices as teens as they approach early adulthood. The curriculum also explains the role of law enforcement in the community, including the explanation of probable cause, reasonable suspicion, and lawful detentions, are. It is a follow up to the curriculum that is presented to students during the G.R.E.A.T. and Y.E.S. programs. It gives our teen-aged students an opportunity to ask questions and get answers from a sworn police officer.



Officers participate in several competitive field games and challenge the students in foot races, dances, sport events, etc. This day also gives elementary students an opportunity to see police officers out of uniform and interact with them on a social level. The goal is to build positive relations with our youth.



South San Francisco School Liaison Officers work with staff at each of the schools in South San Francisco and implement emergency plans in the event of an “active violent intruder” incident. All of the schools have a pre-agreed upon plan to follow if such an incident occurs. Practice drills are also conducted to ensure the best emergency response in the event of a real emergency.



This event provides an opportunity for our local high school students to act as the “Chief of Police” for the day. The students spend several hours with the Chief of Police learning about the day-to-day issues faced by the police department.

These students get to experience what it would be like to have a career in the field of Law Enforcement at the South San Francisco Police Department.


And here are some of the demands that have been made by Change SSF:

Our Demands
Begin the process of defunding the SSFPD by reallocating general funds out of the police budget and into programs that will directly benefit our community members (affordable housing, jobs, youth programs, restorative justice, mental health and wellness facilities, schools, etc.)

Freeze SSFPD hiring of officers indefinitely, including incoming police academy candidates/graduates.
Specifically, make reductions to salary to allocate for social workers and other community workers.
Restrict SSFPD from hiring officers who were previously fired or who resigned while being investigated for serious misconduct and/or excessive force.
Ban paid leave for officers being investigated for misconduct.
Set up a public advisory board with the power to amend PD union agreements in the interest of ensuring public safety.
Ban city funds from being spent on the assessment or construction of any police buildings or corp yards. Ban unauthorized overtime for SSFPD.
Ban general fund money from being used to pay legal settlements resulting from police murder, misconduct, and negligence.
Publicly disclose records of police misconduct & discipline immediately. Change mutual aid policy to prevent SSFPD from sending city officers to other cities’ protests.
Ban SSFPD use of tear gas and rubber bullets.
End criminalization and targeting of Black and Brown people by the SSFPD.
Hire a data analyst to assess the data of those involved in all disciplinary police interactions and arrests, and to identify disproportionate policing for historically. over-policed communities to be presented annually to the public, and identify problematic officers and tactics.
Demilitarize SSFPD: Restrict police from receiving military weapons from the federal government including, but not limited to, tanks, armored vehicles, drones, grenade launchers, aircraft.
Ban city funds from being used to maintain the Corvette.
Deny budget requests for upgrades of handguns ($67,000).

City Council:
Redistribute 30% of the police budget to non-police, community-based services outside of the police department (City of South San Francisco Community Resources).
Establish an independent review board with termination power and ability to recommend disciplinary actions, whose raw data & analysis are published yearly.
California already requires every PD to report every stop, search, arrest & use of force to a state database. This includes officer ID, location, perceived race, age, gender, gender identity, disability status.
Invest in mental health and wellness programs to promote real safety and healing for SSF youth.
Publicly disclose all civil asset forfeitures.
If in the future, budget cuts need to be made across the board, no city worker should be furloughed without pay while the police department continues to operate with no furloughs or pay cuts.
Prioritize the urgent need for affordable housing for families and teachers in South San Francisco.
Raise the percentage of units that must be set aside as affordable to low-income and moderate-income renters in each new development.
Provide rental subsidies for teachers in SSFUSD to decrease teacher turnover rates.
Provide rental subsidies for families that are classified as low-income, very low-income, and extremely low-income (as defined by San Mateo County).
Establish a city-wide, participatory committee for all residents (regardless of citizenship status) that will dictate how to reallocate more monies taken from the police budget into non-police, community-based services for FY 2021.
Develop a concrete plan through city council in collaboration with community members, experts and longtime practitioners in the various fields of social services on how they will carry out these demands with a reassessment of the budget and specific itemized changes.





0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
mel perry
mel perry
2 years ago

let the crimnals and liberal.extremists
run wild, eventually through attriction
they will eliminate their problems,
themselves, just getva bag of popcorn
and enjoy the mayhem they wrought

2 years ago

Why is the SSFPD logo on this letter?