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Kent School District to add School Resource Officer

Summary

Starting in 2016, the Kent School District will be adding a King County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) School Resource Officer to serve its unincorporated schools during the school year. Primary services will be provided to Kentlake High School, Grass Lake Elementary School and Sawyer Woods Elementary School. For the three months that school is out of session, the deputy will provide patrol service in the unincorporated KCSO precinct area.

Story

Starting in 2016, the Kent School District will be adding a King County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) School Resource Officer to serve its unincorporated schools during the school year. Primary services will be provided to Kentlake High School, Grass Lake Elementary School and Sawyer Woods Elementary School. For the three months that school is out of session, the deputy will provide patrol service in the unincorporated KCSO precinct area.

This shared service, with the school district paying for nine months and King County picking up the tab for the three months that school is out of session, is an arrangement that has operated successfully in other King County school districts for many years.

“As a parent, I know firsthand the anxiety and heartache we feel when faced with the countless tragedies that have occurred in our nation’s schools,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “The safety of our children, schools, and communities is a top priority. I’m proud to have worked to make this possible.”

“This partnership will definitely benefit our students, staff, families, and surrounding communities in south King County,” added School Board President Karen DeBruler. “Having a School Resource Officer on site means additional safety for all and that means a better learning environment.”  

School Resource Officers (SROs) are deputies located on school properties, assigned to specific schools or school sites. The services include patrol services for district grounds, providing specialized resources for students and staff, and other duties. SROs provide education and training for school staff, students, and parents. The SROs are encouraged to develop rapport with students and staff, treating the school as a “community” and using community oriented policing techniques to ensure school safety. As an added benefit, the officer is available, as is any on-duty officer, for law enforcement response in the event of urgent situations, which adds to general neighborhood safety.

“With the recent rise in tragedies in places we once deemed safe across the country—such as our schools—the need for additional safety measures is imperative,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. “Providing additional security in and around our schools, even during summer months, will decrease crime rates and allow our communities to gather peacefully all year round.”

Under the arrangement, the county gains a patrol officer during the summer months. Crime rates tend to rise as the weather warms up, and having an extra officer in the summer allows KCSO to cover absences such as vacations without using overtime.
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