KENNEWICK, Wash. — It was during active shooter training this summer when the conversation began between Kennewick City Officials, KSD personnel and law enforcement: ‘why not place retired law officers inside schools to keep them safe?’
“Safety and security has been a long standing priority for us and continues to be a priority and with this new levy, we have an opportunity to build in some funding to increase safety and security at our schools,” Superintendent Tracy Pierce said.
Pierce explained the district currently has five school resource officers provided by the Kennewick Police Department.
“The school resource officers are on our schools’ campuses, interacting positively with kids, providing safety and security for both our students and our staff,” she said.
In recent times, there’s been a push to get SRO’s in elementary campuses, but that would mean pulling from KPD.
“It’s a staffing challenge, though for KPD to have enough police officers to do that,” Pierce explained.
So in comes the idea for retired police officers in schools.
Pierce said they would be Kennewick School District employees with a limited commission from the police department.
“So we have funding in the levy to hire these retired police officers who will be fully trained professionals who receive limited commission from KPD and will be able to serve sort of like a school resource officer,” she said.
The levy, if passed, would provide $5.2 million to health and safety in the district.
It would also get more SRO’s into the additional Kennewick middle schools.
“We rely on that funding and support from our community to be able to provide great educational services and opportunities for our kids. Our schools are reflective of our community and when we have strong schools we have a strong community,” Pierce said.
The levy will be voted on in February 2023, ballots go out in late January.
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