A probation officer will be added to the city's gang-suppression unit as part of a cooperative agreement between the city, county and school district.
The City Council unanimously decided last week to split the $55,000 annual salary of a county probation officer with the Orange Unified School District. School board trustees voted two weeks ago to pay $27,500 to fund the position.
The full-time officer will work on the city streets and on school campuses to help the city's two-man gang team keep tabs on the city's growing gang problem. The Police Department has identified 15 resident gangs and 52 others that cross the city's borders.
School district Supt. Norman Guith said the probation officer will visit high schools and junior high schools to work with students who are on probation. In addition, the new gang-unit member may hold presentations on campus to educate teachers and students on the role of probation, gangs, drugs and other matters, he said.
The officer's presence should help discourage other students from joining gangs, Guith said.
Councilman William G. Steiner praised the decision as a much-needed partnership between the city and the school district.