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Post Date:07/18/2018 2:57 PM

Students in the Chula Vista public schools will soon be going back to school faced with homework, after school activities and, at times, fear and insecurity. This year has been particularly difficult for school students throughout the country. At some point, most students will confront illegal activity at school or in the community. These activities include not only weapons, but bullying, theft, gang, drugs, alcohol, and vandalism. The San Diego Crime Stoppers and local law enforcement want to help students speak out about these activities using the new Students Speaking Out program. 

Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) and the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) have collaborated with Crime Stoppers to spread the word to all middle and high school students in Chula Vista. The anonymous, easy-to-report system is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And students can be eligible for a monetary reward if something they report results in an arrest or suspension. The money is collected anonymously so that students may be more inclined to report issues. No one will know the student reported an issue and no one will know they received reward money unless they tell. 

Here's how Students Speaking Out works: every student-issued I-Pad in the SUHSD is equipped with an app for reporting incidents. The app, P3Tips, directs students how to report the incident which is then shared with Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers quickly responds through their dispatch (which is not located in San Diego County) and then contact local law enforcement. For instance, if a SUHSD student reports bullying at their school, Crime Stoppers would then contact CVPD regarding the issue. The live call center also can call 9-1-1 if the reportable incident requires immediate response from the local law enforcement agency.

CVPD began using the program in February 2018, and was the first municipal agency in San Diego County to use it. Since then, other local cities have begun using the very worthwhile program. As of June 2018, CVPD has received 29 valid tips from students reporting various incidents.

To inform students about the Students Speaking Out program, CVPD has addressed Chula Vista middle and high schools at school assemblies and a variety of posters are hung in the schools with phrases like "Speak Out Against Crime" and "Speak Out Against Drugs & Violence." The colorful posters remind students that reporting with P3 is anonymous and important.

CVPD School Resource Officer Matt Davison is a big proponent of the program. He says, "Our Police Department is encouraging everyone to take the proactive approach. This program empowers students to speak out and potentially stop a threat or unwelcome activity on their campus. All of us have the ultimate make Chula Vista a safe community."

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