News

New school resource officer named

He's leaving his graveyard beat and going back to school.

Actually, Sequim Police Officer Grant Dennis is going back to elementary, middle and high school as the department's new school resource officer.

The resource officer works with the three campuses, their staff and the 2,400 students who fill the halls and fields each day.

Although a graduate of Port Angeles High School, Dennis is very familiar with Sequim, having served as both a reserve and career police officer with the department for the past four years, most of which he spent on the graveyard shift.

"I'm really looking forward to the transition to having a more active role in the community," Dennis said, showing excitement at the chance to work at the schools.

"My plan is to develop better relationships with those in the school system, staff and students alike."

Dennis was selected to become the new school officer in early February. He has been spending the days since then making the transition from patrol officer to school officer.

"As the new Sequim Police Department school resource officer, Officer Dennis will be dedicated to the goal of providing a needed service to our community," said Sequim Police Chief Robert Spinks, also commending Dennis' work as a patrol officer.

In 2007, Dennis received recognition from the department for the high number of arrests he performed that year. His total was 168 arrests. Dennis also finished in the top third of the department in performing vehicle stops, issuing citations, arresting intoxicated drivers and issuing warning citations.

Now Dennis will have an office in the Sequim Middle School building, will become the first responder to incidents on the campuses and will provide and participate in classroom presentations and assemblies.

The school resource officer position was created four years ago, initially funded through a grant obtained through the school district and the police department. After the grant ran its course, the two agencies agreed to split the cost of providing a police officer on campus.

The annual cost for the officer's pay, benefits, uniforms, vehicle and technical gear is about $87,000.

Dennis has been named the resource officer for the remainder of the school year. He replaces Darrell Nelson, who has been on administrative leave since January pending an internal investigation.

"The nature of Darrell's situation does not reflect on his performance in the school and has nothing to do with the school resource officer position," Police Lt. Sheri Crain said. "It is strictly an internal issue as to the operation of the police department."

More details on Nelson's leave of absence may become available once the investigation is complete.



Reach Evan McLean at

emclean@sequimgazette.com.



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