A school resource officer in Sequim schools seems more likely after a recent federal grant went through.
Sheri Crain, Sequim Police deputy chief, said the city received notice last week that they’ve been awarded $125,000 over three years to fund a school resource officer.
“We’re excited and the school district is very supportive,” Crain said. “We’re very thankful we have the award. There are still a few steps that have to be worked through but just practicalities.”
Those next steps include the Sequim City Council and Sequim School District’s School Board approving the partnership and a memorandum of understanding.
If approved, the city and district would split the remainder each of the three years and the ongoing costs in the fourth year, which Crain said is required for grant eligibility.
One option for the police department is to hire an existing officer for the job but it would need to fill his/her position, too.
Crain said they are short three officers now and it’s likely they won’t have the school resource officer in place until the 2014-2015 school year because they’d need to hire a new officer for the vacancy.
Kelly Shea, Sequim School District superintendent, said they’ve budgeted for the position but it’s a matter of the school board approving the partnership first. He said even though the officer was in place before his time in Sequim, he’s heard it was a great partnership before budget cuts wouldn’t allow for the job to continue.
“My assumption is to restore to have the things we had before,” he said.
Sequim schools last had a school officer in 2009.
Crain said for the position they’d refer to the previous resource officer memorandum. It sent an officer to all of the public schools in city limits to create relationships with students and staff, spend time in classrooms when appropriate and focus on crime prevention.
“Most people would be surprised that there is some crime and truancy in the schools,” Crain said.
“Our day shift guys are at the schools without a school resource officer on average three times a week.”