Longtime school cop bids farewell to Mountain View High School | News | Mountain View Online |

News

Longtime school cop bids farewell to Mountain View High School

Officer Bobby Taylor helped local high schools through rapid evolution of social media and drug use

In order for all area residents to have important local information on the coronavirus health emergency, MV-Voice.com has lifted its pay meter and is providing unlimited access to its website. We need your support to continue our important work. Please join your neighbors and become a subscribing member today.
Bobby Taylor, a school resource officer at Mountain View High School for eight years, enjoys his goodbye lunch with Mountain View High School staff on Jan. 23, 2020. Taylor will be leaving the job to be a patrol officer again. Photo by Sammy Dallal

Bobby Taylor spent the last eight years as a critical connection between law enforcement and local high schools in Mountain View, guiding students and staff alike through the proliferation of social media and fast-changing drug trends.

But after stretching what is ostensibly a two-year assignment, Taylor is finally calling it quits. He served his last day as school resource officer for Mountain View High School last week, and is officially back to being a Mountain View patrol officer.

Taylor, whose tenure at Mountain View high started in 2011, strove over the years to foster personal relationships with students and was widely credited for being a mentor. He won accolades from Challenge Team of Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills for his work in 2017 as a "champion" for youth, creating a climate for students to talk openly about tough issues like gang activity, drugs and mental health.

Police officers in the department typically serve specialized assignments, like school resource officer, for only two years with the option for a two-year extension.Due to an influx of new officers in the unit who weren't yet ready to step in, Taylor ended up doing an extra four years.

It was hardly a burden, Taylor told the Voice. He said the department was "generous" giving him the extra time, and that he plans to stay involved with teens when he reverts back to patrol starting this week.

"The entire time, I always wanted to be there," Taylor said. "It was my passion, I enjoy working for youth, and even from patrol I'll still be able to participate in youth-related activities."

With the extended time at Mountain View High, Taylor said he got the benefit of building strong ties with the school staff, which he said started to feel like family. His farewell party at the school on Jan. 23 wasn't among students but with school staff, who gathered in the front office for a low-key celebration.

"He's just been awesome to work with," said Principal David Grissom. "I've had the opportunity to work at multiple schools including Mountain View, with a lot of different school resource officers. While each of them brings their own style, there is something special about Bobby."

On paper, the on-campus police officer is there to provide security and handle student law enforcement incidents and, in rare cases, cite and arrest students. They also provide information to students and parents about current drug trends and periodically handle mental health issues particularly if it means an officer has to involuntarily detain students in crisis who poses a danger to themselves or others.

In practice, it meant Taylor checking in with students and asking how they're doing, exchanging fist bumps in the hallways, Grissom said, and volunteering to do talks with student clubs and parent groups. He was still an authority figure on campus, but it was one of respect rather than distrust or fear.

"He has a way of being able to connect with kids, he's real," Grissom said. "I think when he's wearing his uniform there's always that piece to it, 'I need to listen to him because I don't want to get in trouble,' but he was able to connect with kids in a way that goes beyond that uniform."

Grissom said he was surprised to see Taylor stick around for eight years, and said the department probably kept him as a school resource officer because he had a knack for working with youth and knew everyone so well. He wasn't officially part of Mountain View High's staff, but he may as well have been.

Taylor said the bonus time as a school resource officer gave him a front-row seat to so many changes, watching social media go from nonexistent to enveloping all social interaction among students. It meant a fresh wave of new types of online crime and forced police departments to adjust to the digital age.

E-cigarettes and vaping are now huge problems in high schools across the country, but it wasn't a thing when Taylor first started. He said he saw his first vape pen on campus about six years ago and didn't even know what it was.

Though vaping is perceived to be a big public health hazard due to severe and sometimes fatal lung injuries, Taylor said he worries that the ultra-high concentration of THC in marijuana products also pose a risk to teens with developing brains. It's getting more powerful and easily accessible under changes in state laws, including the legalization of recreational use of marijuana in 2016.

During his term as school resource officer, Taylor took a yearlong hiatus after he was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2017. He underwent a six-month of aggressive cancer treatment and spent five months recovering before returning to the job last August. Shortly after returning, Taylor told the Voice that returning to the police department and continuing his job was his priority.

Mountain View police officer James Guevarra is set take over for Taylor as the school resource officer primarily in charge with overseeing high schools.

We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?

Comments

14 people like this
Posted by Jon Keeling
a resident of another community
on Jan 27, 2020 at 2:35 pm

Thank you, Officer Taylor, for a job well done!

I have always enjoyed our brief interactions as I worked on mentoring kids at AVHS, volunteering at MVHS and at the ChallengeTeam meetings at MVPD, etc. I have heard from students that you have quite a few fans at school and they will miss you.

I have met your replacement and it seems like we are in good hands going forward.

Thank you for doing such a great job as SRO and good luck back on patrol.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields


Stay up to date on local coronavirus coverage with our daily news digest email.

'A devastating impact:' The coronavirus claims Clarke's Charcoal Broiler, Mountain View's oldest operating restaurant
By Elena Kadvany | 24 comments | 8,257 views

The first few seconds after awakening; before I remember the virus
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 3,333 views

Can you stay healthy without making more trash?
By Sherry Listgarten | 6 comments | 2,745 views

Think about helping others in our coronavirus-affected area
By Diana Diamond | 7 comments | 2,543 views

Coronavirus Food Safety Update + New! Insider Tips
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 965 views

 

DEADLINE EXTENDED

The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by April 10, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

View Details