School Resource Officer assigned to Cal

Cpl. Maricela Bracamonte is a veteran police officer


Mansi Swaminathan

Corporal Maricela Bracamonte patrols campus in her SRO uniform during break at Cal High.

Mansi Swaminathan , Staff Writer

Cal High has upgraded from sharing one School Resource Officer (SRO) with Dougherty Valley High to having its very own on campus this year.
The San Ramon police force’s new addition, Corporal Maricela Bracamonte, is Cal’s new SRO. Her role is to ensure the safety and well-being of students and staff on school grounds.
“My primary and sole role is to make sure that everybody on campus, whether it is teachers or students, feels safe,” Cpl. Bracamonte said. “It is to protect you guys from any harm.”
Cpl. Bracamonte has been working as a resource officer on campus for a little more than two months now and likes the environment of the school.
Her interest in criminal justice compelled her to pursue a job as a police officer. She worked as one for 14 years with the Walnut Creek Police Department before joining the San Ramon department.
Cpl. Bracamonte said she wanted to become an SRO because she liked to interact with kids.
Cal Principal Demetrius Ball said SROs are like a bridge between students and the police department.
“The purpose of a school resource officer is to build a relationship between the city’s police department and the school,” Ball said.
As a part of Cpl. Bracamonte’s role as an SRO, she has to make sure that there aren’t any unwelcome people on campus.
She said many people like to walk around campus during the daytime. She gives them friendly reminders emphasizing that during class hours no one is allowed to enter the school grounds.
“If they [citizens] don’t have a reason to be here, we don’t want them to be here,” Cpl. Bracamonte said.
Cpl. Bracamonte is usually patrolling near the perimeter of the school. During the day, while students are in their classes, she patrols near the back gate. When students are out in the quad during breaks, she tries to be there with them. She often talks with students and teachers during lunch.
“The only way I’m going to gain trust [from students] is through the interactions I have with you all every day,” Cpl. Bracamonte said. “Hopefully the people I talk to let other people know that I’m a person that they can always talk to.”
Some students feel that Cpl. Bracamonte’s sociable and approachable conduct makes her a comfortable person to talk to.
“She’s very friendly, she’s waved to me a couple of times,” senior Spriha Pandey said. “Her presence definitely feels nice, I don’t think her being there interrupts any school activities.”
Despite her friendly interactions with many on campus, some students are sure about the idea of a police officer on school grounds.
“At first I was quite skeptical about it,” sophomore Renee LaMarche said. “But this is high school, and you never know what could happen.”
“Added senior Sochi Nwankwo said. “[Having police officers] doesn’t really do anything. They are not really helping our campus at all.”
In response to some students’ concerns about having an SRO, assistant principal Jeffrey Osborn asked students to meet Cpl. Bracamonte first before passing judgment.
“I’d like for them to get to know Cpl. Bracamonte,” Osborn said. “Cpl. Bracamonte is a wonderful person.”