Jesse Borrego, Cathedral City native, serves as School Resource Officer
The quartet spends the vast majority of their time at the District’s high schools — Cathedral City High School, Desert Hot Springs High School, Mt. San Jacinto High School and Ramon Academy — but they move about the schools in their jurisdiction as needed, according to Levaughn Smart, PSUSD’s executive director of security and disaster preparedness.
Each is considered an employee of their respective police departments with PSUSD paying 10 months of the SRO’s salary, Smart said. They work eight-hour shifts and overtime when needed.
The primary responsibility of an SRO is to serve as a Law Counselor, Law Advisor, and Law Enforcement (SRO Triad), according to Smart.
Uken Report first became acquainted with Borrego in his capacity as president of the Cathedral City Police Officers’ Association.
It was abundantly clear he has a passion for working in the schools — and for school spirit — so we decided to ask him a few questions.
UkenReport (UR): When did you become an SRO?
Jesse Borrego: I became an SRO at the start of our 2022 school year.
Jesse Borrego: I was born and raised in Cathedral City. I attended Agua Caliente Elementary, Landau Elementary, James Workman Middle School and graduated from Cathedral City High School in 2003. So, when the position came up, I jumped at it. I felt I could help students since I have been in their shoes before, I would be more relatable and easier to approach if they had questions about law enforcement or one of the many struggles of being a teen.
UR: Were you assigned, or did you request to be such?
Jesse Borrego: I put in an interest memo for the position and had to do an oral board to go over my qualifications.
UR: How long have you been with the CCPD?
Jesse Borrego: I was here in 2011-2012 and was laid off when our city had budgeting issues. I came back to the agency in 2017 and have been assigned to our patrol division since my new assignment.
UR: What are your responsibilities as an SRO?
Jesse Borrego: I am kind of like “Break-in case-of-emergency.” Daily I work closely with my administration in charge of discipline. If a student is believed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, I will administer a field sobriety test to confirm. I issue citations to students found truant off campus or in possession of drugs on campus. I walk the campus during lunch and passing periods to stay visible. I also mentor tons of kids who visit my office. I have seen plenty of these kid on calls off campus during my years of service, so the ones I know, I like to check on make sure homelife is going well.
UR: School shootings have made more than their share of headlines. Do you worry about a shooting at CCHS? Why or why not?
Jesse Borrego: First, I pray this never happens at any of our schools, but it has become an unfortunate part of life now. I have two teens, and the hardest conversation so far, I have had with them, has been how to have a fighting chance during an active school-shooter incident. In my experience, school staff and students are very vocal when it comes to social media threats they have seen or students who have made threatening comments. Our school also has a strong ASB team and “Equity Ambassadors” who provide peer counseling services, student conflict mediation and plan school activities to build a more unified student body.
UR: Have you thwarted any potential incidents at CCHS? If so, how?
Jesse Borrego: I have investigated some threats made on social media, all of which were unfounded.
UR: What special training do you have to be an SRO?
Jesse Borrego: Once selected to be an SRO, an officer must attend a 40-hour School Resource Officer training course. In order to be the best, I can be for my students and school staff, I conduct firearm training on a regular basis, as well as keep in good physical and mental health so I can give them my best.
UR: What do you see as your primary responsibility in being an RSO?
Jesse Borrego: Student and staff safety. but I feel my Auxiliary —and just as important responsibility — is to mentor my students on become responsible, young adults.
UR: Anything you would like to add?
Jesse Borrego: Go Lions!
Cathedral City Police Chief George Crum has long advocated for a school resource officer. In August 2021, in the wake of the Palm Springs Unified School District deciding against having school resource officers on campus, Crum implored PSUSD to reconsider its “grave decision.”
The recent decision by the PSUSD to “defund” their School Resource Officer program is deeply concerning as it correlates to the safety of our local schools and the welfare of the students and staff in attendance,” Crum said in a statement at the time. There were questions and concerns regarding about SRO contracts and funding.
“There should be nothing more important to our community than protecting our children, who historically tend to be among the most vulnerable people in our community,” Crum said.
- Chief George Crum: City of Cathedral City
- Jesse Borrego: CCPD