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"When we first moved to Western Avenue in 2010, we would always see kids during school hours smoking cigarettes and marijuana right in front of our home," said Patterson. "But once officer Antonio got to campus, I didn't see any of that. Kids weren't roaming around during the day anymore."

Patterson said it wasn't long after Antonio left Petaluma High School that she began to notice issues in the neighborhood again. "Kids returned to wandering around the neighborhood, drug deals started happening and things went back to the way they were," she said. "I was amazed at how quickly things changed back."

Cook pointed out that when it's a struggle to simply respond to every emergency call, programs like the student resource officer are the first to go, "Which is sad because we saw such an improvement in the neighborhood around the school," said Cook. "It was working out really well, and we are hoping to bring it back soon."

Dave Rose, Petaluma City Schools director of student services, said the district is disappointed with the loss.

"We understand the police department's struggles, but it is such a shame to lose that valuable resource," said Rose. "Anytime we have a police officer working directly with the students, we notice major changes in school attendance, discipline hearings and our knowledge of local behavior trends. We are really going to miss the help and we hope it comes back soon."

Cook said he doesn't know how long it will be until a student resource officer is returned to the school campus, but it remained a high priority for the department.

"We haven't backed off and we aren't taking a break from progress," said Cook. "It has just become that much more difficult for now."

(Contact Janelle Wetzstein at janelle.wetzstein@arguscourier.com)