New school resource officer dares to make a difference

October 21, 2008 — by Sophia Cooper

The memory of singing “D: I won’t do drugs” is still fresh in many students’ mind from the fifth grade DARE classes, taught by Santa Clara County Police Deputy Dan Cutforth. After missing his tall, bald head around school all these years, students will be seeing Cutforth a lot more after his recent appointment as Saratoga’s School Resource Officer (SRO).

“[My job] is to assist the administration, students and PTA in regards to students and activities that might involve law enforcement and be the go-between with the deputies and students,” said Cutforth.

The SRO position has been vacant for the past few years, but [was] re-instated this summer by the City Council. According to Cutforth, there has been a “high demand from the high school districts and elementary schools” to maintain the job.

“I’m responsible for 11 schools in the vicinity of Saratoga, but I definitely spend more time at the junior high and high school levels,” said Cutforth. “They seem to demand more of my attention.”

Because of the large number of schools Cutforth oversees, he does not plan on visiting Saratoga High every day.

“I definitely try to get out here once a week, and I talk with the administration more than that,” said Cutforth. “I might attend some [school events], but it mostly depends if it’s necessary. My position is not an enforcement position, the crushing skulls and that sort of stuff. I’m more of an adviser. I’m probably not going to do a lot of squishing.”

The position has been defunct for four to five years, according to Cutforth. But a changing society brought the need for its revival during the city council meetings this year. The topic was proposed multiple times, broached by Saratoga parents and community members.

“As a patrol officer in Saratoga a few years ago, I saw the need for someone to be doing this [job],” said Cutforth. “It took a lot of my time to be in the schools, and it took me off the streets dealing with a lot of the other crimes I should have been dealing with.”

Cutforth is excited for his new position and wants to make a positive influence on students’ lives.

“I’m happy to have this position, and I’m glad it’s back,” said Cutforth. “I’m someone [students] can go to in addition to the administration or their parents for some guidance. I see this as a very positive and proactive position that I think is very beneficial.”

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