School Resource Officers in Every School in Yakima? It’s Possible
Not all schools in the Yakima School District are protected by resource officers but state lawmakers would like that to change. Representatives in the state house are backing House Bill 1071 which would provide funding for a school resource officer in every school in the state. It's a expensive proposal that's not likely to pass but some school officials say it's a start to providing safer schools in the state.
Funding is always an issue
In the past Yakima Police Resource Officers were active in area middle schools but that's no longer the case.
Capt. Jay Seely says in the past the department had enough officers to cover all city areas and place officers at city high schools and middle schools. Currently Resource Officers work in the two major high schools Davis and Eisenhower. The city is short 12 to 14 officers. That shortage not only forced the cancellation of middle school resource officers but also forced the city to cancel the traffic unit. The unit is slowly being built up again but so far there's been no increase in school resource Officers.
Police work with schools to give security advice
Seely says they do work closely with the Yakima School District in hardening entrances to schools. Seely says the district last year hired a retired officer to coordinate private security in the district. According to KING 5 in Seattle "88 of Washington state's 321 school districts have a police officer or deputy serving as a SRO. That's 27% of districts."
The superintendent wrote a letter to parents after the Texas tragedy
Last year the Yakima School District Superintendent Dr. Trevor Greene sent an email to parents in the district following a tragic school shooting in Texas. In the letter Greene wrote;
"I want to assure our staff and families that YSD has a robust safety and security team who work hard every day to protect the well-being of our school’s precious occupants. We call on our school community to work together to keep our schools peaceful and safe by reporting any signs of suspicious activity or behavior to our school or district staff."
City officials say if the funding is ever available placing resource officers in all schools would be an ideal and safe situation to prevent future tragedy.