District benefits from police presence

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By Carol A. Clark

Police officers residing in mobile homes on Los Alamos Public Schools' properties is a deterrent that benefits the district, said the district's Director of Business Services John Wolfe during an interview Monday.

Wolfe explained that their presence helps stave off potential vandals when police officers residing in homes at Aspen, Chamisa and Pinon elementary schools and Los Alamos Middle School are seen making the rounds of the properties and parking their cars in their driveways.

Through the years a couple of the homes shifted to school personnel, he said, adding that the school board gave him and other district staff direction to bring the practice back around to police officers living in the homes.

"Board members Alison Beckman and Joan Ahlers volunteered to meet with Superintendent Mary McLeod, me and other staff to work out a way to make that happen," Wolfe said. "We received input from our attorney, which Mary tweaked and we gave the two school staff members a one year lease with the opportunity to come back to the board if they need a short term extension beyond that."

One staff members has sold his home at Pinon to a police officer, Wolfe said and the staff member residing in a home at LAMS is making arrangements to sell his property most likely within the next year.

Police officers owning homes on school property will receive 1099s, Wolfe said. The 1099s will reflect a $325 per month exchange for services type arrangement in which LAPS provides the property at no charge in return for the officers keeping an eye on the property.

The school personnel do not receive 1099s, he said, because they are school employees.

The decision to return to a policy of having only police officers own and reside in the homes on school property is not required to go to the state for approval so it did not require a formal vote by the board of education, Wolfe said.

In years past, Los Alamos High School has had a police officer living in a mobile home on the property but isn't currently the case, he said. Barranca Mesa Elementary School also does not currently have a home on its property.