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Deputies, city launch School Watch project

Posted: March 8, 2008 1:59 a.m.
Updated: May 9, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Capt. Anthony La Berge, of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Department station, speaks during the unveiling of the new Santa Clarita School Watch program.

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If you see something, say something.

That's what local sheriff's deputies and city officials are asking residents who live near school campuses to do with the launch of their School Watch Program.

Modeled after the Neighborhood Watch Program, this new program encourages community members who live near local elementary schools to stay aware of activity that happens on and around the campuses.

Those who notice any suspicious activity such as vandalism, graffiti, burglary or unsupervised children on campus after school hours are encouraged to immediately contact the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.

The program was launched and the new signage that will be posted near participating schools was unveiled Friday morning during a ceremony held at Leona Cox Elementary School in Canyon Country.

"In discussions with the schools, we learned that we are not being notified in a timely manner when these things happen," said Deputy Patrick Rissler. "Law enforcement can't be everywhere, so we need the community's support and help."

Leona Cox is the first school to join the School Watch Program, which deputies hope will soon encompass every elementary school in the Santa Clarita Valley, and eventually every junior high and high school as well.

"Many residents in this area have already agreed to work with us," SCV Sheriff's Capt. Anthony La Berge told the crowd assembled at Leona Cox. "They know what a regular day looks like in this peaceful community, and they will know is anything happens that is out of the ordinary."

Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar was on hand at the ceremony to witness the unveiling of the sign that will be placed near participating schools. The program is a partnership between the city and the Sheriff's Station.

"Having this sign posted near your public school lets people know that eyes and ears are watching and listening to ensure that the school stays safe for Santa Clarita students," Kellar said.

The signs encourage people to "report all suspicious persons and activities to the Santa Clarita Valley Station" at (661) 255-1121.

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