Why does my local elementary school have THREE security patrol cars?

On my way to work every single day I pass by a normal looking elementary school (California btw and in a “middle class” neighborhood) that I notice had multiple SUV type vehicles that look like black and white police cars (mounted lights on top included) but with the words PATROL written on the side. There’s usually 3 of them all parked in a neat row in the faculty parking lot, though on occasion I do see one of them driving around the area, usually with a mile or two of the school.

  1. What exactly is their purpose? Why does an elementary school need a police style SUV?

  2. Why does it need THREE of them?

  3. Why are the cars patrolling around occasionally anyway?

We can’t even begin to do research if we don’t know what school you are talking about.

I’d WAG that the Patrol ‘office’ is at that school but those three vehicles are used for the entire district. As for what what they’re doing a mile away from the school, if they’re out and about that often, they may have a truancy problem.
In the end, it’s probably better for all involved if the school patrol officer finds kids, picks them up and brings them back to the school (or home, as the case may be) and internally handles any punishments, rather than the local police picking them up and doing the same. That’s a good way to get kids ‘into the system’ at a really young age.

I see campus cops a mile or two or more away from my local college (UW-Milwaukee), but I usually assume they’re either checking on nearby properties that the school owns or doing ‘gopher’ type work. I don’t think they’re actively enforcing anything off school property. I’ve never, for example, seen them pull someone over or write parking tickets. Though I’m not 100% if they’re real police or not, so I don’t know if they’re even allowed to, say, go to a local residence and interview a witness or subject about something that happened on campus or if that gets handed off to the local PD.

Many US public schools have what are now called School Resource Officers. Who are usually ordinary police officers of whatever department handles that jurisdiction. Some are actually a dedicated force belonging to the school district. In any case SROs are real cops albeit with some selection and training to help them with the PR aspect of being Officer Friendly Smiles instead of Officer Badge Heavy.

Typically each elementary or middle school has 1 on duty, while high schools with larger populations will have 2 or more.

Why 3 cars? Either you’ve got an especially paranoid school board or I’ve got no clue.

Maybe they are looking for a bomb like in Die Hard with a Vengeance.

For what it’s worth, my one-horse town (without an SRO in the school’s halls) oft has a city and/or county patrol car hanging around at the elementary school on school days. Word around town is that a non-custodial parent has shown up more than once with intentions of kidnapping his child.

I want to confirm that “Patrol” does NOT necessarily mean police. Private security companies often have cars made up to look like police but are not.

Sounds like private security guards who “stage” at the elementary school in the morning before going off to their separate functions. There may be one guard stationed at that school during the day, one that parks his car there and then drives the SUV to an assignment at another school, and a third who cruises around floating between assignments.

For awhile, our middle school’s (civilian) security officer cruised the grounds in his old, beat up, green Ford Tempo. All he got for his efforts was parents calling the school, complaining that there was some guy flashing a badge and calling himself a security guard.