"As a Cadet of the Public Safety Academy and potential
future public safety officer, I pledge to prepare myself to serve my community,
protect lives and property, and respect the rights of all people. During my
school career, I will work to develop myself intellectually, ethically, and
physically to achieve this goal.” PSA Cadet Creed.
The new Public Safety Academy, or PSA, opened in August with close to 400 attendees for the 2012-13 school year in the building that previously housed Amy Blanc Elementary. The school currently serves 5th through 8th graders, but plans to grow with its classes over the next four years to eventually accommodate students through grade 12.
Police chiefs throughout Solano County and the association of Police Officers Standards and Training (POST) first approached the school district with the idea for a specialized school in the Spring of 2011, however, every law agency in the county--including the fire department was also involved. The Public Safety Academy is the result of a "collaborative" effort between the school district and said agencies.
"In a time of economic crisis, (this has) shown parents, students, and the community that we're willing to try new things...think outside the box...to other ways that we can evolve the education process", said Fairfield Police Chief, Walt Tibbet.
After observing a similar school in San Bernardino, the PSA was opened as a “specially-themed vocational school” for two reasons. First so that the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District would have jurisdiction and still receive funding for its students and second so that tuition would be a non-issue. Any student who is at grade level and has a good behavioral history is welcome to apply. Currently, students come from as far as Dixon.
Fire Chief Vince Webster believes that "these folks in the PSA get a head start...that's a huge push."
Every morning and afternoon, students line up by grade in formation to recite the pledge of allegiance, the creed and raise and lower the flags. Students are addressed as cadets and wear one of two sets of uniforms, which are subject to inspection every Wednesday.
Officer Larry Banks, former resource officer at Armijo High School, works alongside Principal Kathy Frazer who also has a background in law enforcement. Both he and Frazer, say they strive to convey the message of “no cadet left behind” in an effort to create a feeling of family within their unique learning environment.
According to a statement released by the FSUSD, the curriculum at the PSA is “designed to provide rigorous academic and career preparation for those interested in law enforcement, fire prevention, emergency response, and related fields.”
Officer Darrin Moody says that the PSA has "also produced the chance for police officers to interact with the kids on a whole different level...and improve police relations within the community."
The regular core curriculum along with electives such as Careers, Publications, Life Skills and Public speaking/Debate will be offered at the PSA. In addition, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA and uphold a code of honor. Cadets must also learn and practice fundamental training values, which include public service, respect, integrity, discipline and equality.
Principal Frazer puts all this in a nutshell, saying that “ultimately we are raising good citizens.”
In a youtube post, one 8th grade cadet writes, "HOOR-AH!!!! I love my new school. One thing I'd like to say is that if anyone is looking for a good school for you or your kid and that teaches you about what you need to succeed, I strongly recommend PSA."