SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Unified School District's 130,000 students will soon have a new protector, as School Police Chief Rueben Littlejohn has turned in his resignation, effective Dec. 22, to take a new job with the San Diego County Office of Probation.
Littlejohn is on vacation and unavailable for comment.
SD Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten issued this statement to 10News:
"It is with a tremendous sense of pride and appreciation that we announce the forthcoming departure of Chief Rueben Littlejohn. Through his tireless hard work, Chief Littlejohn has helped make San Diego Unified one of the safest large school districts in the state. I am confident he will bring the same sense of dedication to his new position as San Diego County Assistant Chief of Probation. In his new role, Chief Littlejohn will move from overseeing some 60 officers to more than 900. This is obviously an exceptional opportunity for Chief Littlejohn, his family and most of all the children of San Diego County. We wish the Chief much joy and satisfaction in his new position. I have asked Captain Mike Marquez to serve as interim Chief of school police services, as we start a national search for a new leader."
Littlejonn's five-year tenure as police services chief hasn't come without a few glitches. He took a lot of heat in 2014 when he scored a free surplus armored vehicle from the Department of Homeland Security. Many parents complained the same equipment used to fight terrorists shouldn't be used on our children.
Littlejohn said the heavy equipment was only going to be used to rescue students from dangerous situations, but decided to send it back.
This year, his department took flack for its handling of a fight at Lincoln High School where an officer was injured and a student stunned by a stun gun.
More recently, some parents of Horton Elementary School students complained about an officer who showed up at their doors to deliver stay-away orders. The parents felt it was heavy-handed and intimidating.
Team 10 revealed in September that Littlejohn caused a three-car collision while driving his district-issued cruiser home to Oceanside. The district has not released documents requested by Team 10 regarding how much that accident cost taxpayers.
San Diego Unified School District school trustee John Lee Evans told Team 10 in a text message that he appreciates Littlejohn's "highly professional service" and said he is sorry to see him go.