by Ryan Park
Did you know that LAUSD schools have their very own police department? The mission of the Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD) is to assist teachers, administrators, and other staff in providing a safe environment in which the educational process can take place for the 565,000 students of the district. In addition, they offer multiple programs for community engagement, career opportunities, and safety, some in partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
LAUSD Police Academy Magnet Schools (PAMS) Program
In this program, students under the guidance and supervision of LAPD and LASPD police instructors are taught to develop life skills through positive interactions with police officers. The life skills that PAMS teaches you are promoting self-esteem, communication skills, and activities for scholastic achievement. In addition, students in this Career Technical Education (CTE) program can prepare for law enforcement careers. These programs include instruction in:
- Communication skills with an emphasis on integrity, public speaking, and writing as it relates to law enforcement
- Basic concepts of criminal law, principles of law enforcement, constitutional law, the
criminal justice system and other law related topics throughout all core academic courses
- Health training, including nutrition and mental health
- Physical Training and fitness in accordance with LAPD standards
- Community service to develop a commitment to community leadership
Currently, this program is offered at 9 high schools/middle schools with 1,100 students enrolled in this program. This program will expand to 10 programs in the coming year, 2023-2024.
Building Blue Bridges
There has been a long historical barrier and distrust between many communities and the city’s police force. The program Building Blue Bridges, also known as B3, was started with the intent of reestablishing trust within the community through positive and productive relationships with police officers. This program has students become active participants in their school’s safety as they develop strategies for how to address bullying, cyberbullying, and criminal justice reform to help break the school-to-prison pipeline.
LASPD Explorers Program
Established in 2003, the LASPD Explorers Program was made with the goal of introducing the youth to career opportunities in law enforcement. This program provides the opportunity for students to earn high school and college credit or community service hours as they learn skills with officers that can be applied to multiple fields. The Explorers Program also competes in competitions throughout the country in order to have students learn the core skills needed to become police officers.
Ready and Able for Middle School (RAMS) Mentoring Program
RAMS is a program that was made in collaboration with LAUSD’s Behavioral Support Office and LASPD to help 5th and 6th graders who have multiple days of suspension, helping them successfully transition into the middle school environment. Officers will build influential relationships with students and mentor students through connections and positive relationships to promote positive behavior and academic performance.
Los Angeles Schools Anonymous Reporting (LASAR) App
LASAR is an app accessible via mobile device, designed in collaboration with LASPD and LAUSD. This app allows students or families to anonymously report a non-emergency event and provide the location of the incident for which the Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD) will respond in partnership with Psychiatric Social Workers (PSW), other mental health support and, if needed, the appropriate law enforcement agency should the incident rise to that level. Users have the option of providing brief contact information for the LASPD to follow up if additional details are needed.
Along with fentanyl and other instances of drug use, the Los Angeles school community can report other issues including threats of a school attack, psychological distress, suicidal ideation, weapons or dangerous objects, vandalism and other non-emergency safety issues.
Students and families can download the LASAR app by visiting the Apple or Android app stores and searching “Los Angeles Unified LASAR.”