After holding off their approval last month, Tumwater’s Public Health and Safety Committee has agreed to recommend an interlocal agreement with Tumwater School District on School Resource Officers (SROs).
The agreement was approved during a meeting held yesterday, November 8, and will extend the School Resource Officer (SRO) program from December 2022 until the end of 2025.
Committee chair and councilmember Leatta Dahlhoff allayed concerns that Tumwater is removing the SRO program. She reassured the public that the purpose of having working committees like the public health and safety committee is to deliberate on issues so that contracts like the agreement for the SRO program may have to be worked with.
“In no way is Tumwater removing SROs from the school district,” Dahlhoff said. “I appreciate these moments to have these discussions. And if there are any concerns or unintended negative comments or thoughts from the last meeting, I just want to make sure that this is our process.”
Under the agreement, Tumwater Police Department will assign two officers as SROs. One will be assigned to Tumwater High School and Bush Middle School, while the other will be assigned to Black Hills High School and Tumwater Middle School.
Both SROs may also report to Black Lake Elementary, East Olympia Elementary, Littlerock Elementary, Michael T. Simmons Elementary, and Peter G. Schmidt Elementary when needed.
The SROs will work to promote safety in their assigned campus and foster positive relationships with students and school administration.
The agreement stated that SROs are prohibited from disciplining students when it is the responsibility of school administrators; they may only be involved if an incident calls for law enforcement.
Under the agreement, the City of Tumwater will pay for the salary and benefits of the SRO serving in Tumwater High School, while the Tumwater School District will pay for the salary and benefits of the other SRO in Black Hills High School. The school district is expected to reimburse the city $538,333 during the entire term of the agreement.
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