Tumwater’s Public Health and Safety Committee held off from recommending an interlocal agreement to extend the school resource officer (SRO) program, citing the need for clarifications on the setup.
Committee members expressed that they wanted to add additional language to the agreement during a meeting held yesterday, October 11.
City council and committee member Angela Jefferson said that she wants the agreement to specify conditions when SROs should be involved in disciplinary issues.
Tumwater Police Commander Jay Mason reassured the committee that SROs do not participate in disciplining students.
“Not only has it always been our policy that our school resource officers do not participate in [student] discipline,” Mason said, “but it's actually in RCW 28A that prohibits school resource officers from becoming involved in formal school discipline situations that are the responsibility of the school administrators.”
Council member Leatta Dahlhoff also sought further discussion about the reporting process and how to maintain anonymity while doing so.
Under the agreement, SROs are assigned to promote safety and create a positive school climate by building positive relationships with students. SROs must also complete a school safety and security training program within the first six months of working on school property.
The SRO program, first implemented in 2016, assigns two police officers to serve as SROs, with the interlocal agreement seeking to extend the program until the end of 2025 as it is set to expire at the end of this year.
Under the agreement, one SRO is assigned to serve at both Tumwater High School and Bush Middle School, and the other serves at both Black Hills High School and Tumwater Middle School.
Both SROs also serve Black Lake Elementary, East Olympia Elementary, Littlerock Elementary, Michael T. Simmons Elementary, and Peter G. Schmidt Elementary whenever needed.
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