Keizer will likely lose a school officer to budget cuts

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes With only six months on the job as a school resource officer, David Zavala, of the Keizer Police Department, had to ask his colleagues at Whiteaker Middle School if they knew of any students who had been positively affected by his presence. He was taken aback when both people asked rattled off the same name with barely a thought. “‘You’ve turned him around, he talks to you, shares information with you,’ they said.  They’ve seen his attitude change not only towards law enforcement, but school, too. His grades are up, he’s playing football and wrestles. They credited me with getting him to be more involved with school. He also takes on a leadership role with a certain group of kids that are always on the radar and I’ve been encouraging him to take that leadership in a positive direction. He used to be proud of being in a gang, but he certainly doesn’t dress the part anymore,” Zavala said. If approved in its current form, Zavala’s job as a school resource officer (SRO) at Whiteaker will be cut from the Salem-Keizer School District’s budget and the duty will fall to Officer Jay Prall, a longtime school resource officer who will have to pull double duty covering Whiteaker and Claggett Creek middle schools. SRO presence at elementary schools, which both Zavala and Prall...

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