East Wenatchee City Council Approves 2nd Resource Officer For Eastmont Schools
The Eastmont School District is a step closer to hiring a second school resource officer after the position received unanimous approval by the East Wenatchee City Council on Tuesday.
Council member Sasha Sleiman was the only vote against hiring the first resource officer last fall.
And she says her perspective was changed by Officer Ivy Jacobsen, who has filled that position.
"I have a lot of personal views on SRO programs that come from a very national viewpoint in a very urbanized experience, but I had the opportunity...to ride along with Ivy, and it was incredible," said Sleiman.
The new plan calls for the same financing as with the first agreement, with the school district reimbursing the city for 60 percent of the resource officer’s salary and benefits.
The total for the two positions is $269,841 per year, which is double the cost of a single officer.
Eastmont will also reimburse the city $1,980 per quarter, to cover 60 percent of the cost of a new vehicle for the second position.
Jacobson has been on the job since last March, which marked the first time in 10 years that the police department provided services to the school district.
East Wenatchee Police Chief Rick Johnson says the need for a second resource officer became apparent after officer Jacobson ended up spending 75 percent of the time handling issues at the two junior high schools.
“We would like to establish a model where we have one full time at the high school, and one splitting their time between the two junior highs, and then responding to the elementary schools as needed,” said Johnson.
The new agreement is effective for a one-year term from September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023.
Following expiration of the initial year term, the agreement is automatically extended for additional one-year terms unless there’s a cancellation notice given by one party 30 days in advance.
The agreement calls for the City will have the sole discretion to determine the SRO applicant pool, with the City and the District working together to chooses finalists. The Police Chief will then appoint two SRO’s from the collaboratively chosen finalists.
The National Association of School Resource Officers defines a resource officer as a "full-time law enforcement officer with sworn law enforcement authority, trained in school-based law enforcement and crisis response, assigned by the employing law enforcement agency to work in the school using community-oriented policing concepts."
The agreement between the city and the Eastmont School District calls for the district to have sole responsibility for handling student discipline.
The Eastmont school board must still approve the second resource officer, which could take place at its meeting next Monday.
Superintendent Becky Berg attended the Tuesday city council meetings and offered strong support for the second resource officer position.