Yelm Mayor Joe DePinto signed an agreement to increase the number of school resource officers at Yelm Community Schools at a city council meeting on Tuesday, July 26.
The new agreement effectively doubles the amount of school resources officers at the district, increasing from 1.5 full time equivalent officers to three in all.
The change will go into effect for the 2023-24 school year, and will last through 2025.
The Yelm Police Department needs to hire more officers so it can expand its number of SROs, Yelm’s Chief of Police Rob Carlson said. The police department has informed the school district of the timeframe, and received its support, even with the wait, Carlson said.
Each officer will have a salary of $75,000 per school year. An additional 5% of their salaries will be paid by Yelm Community Schools.
“This agreement has always been something that ensures a safe and secure learning environment,” Carlson said during the city council meeting. “I think it’s an important contract that we get involved with.”
Councilmember James Blair wanted to ensure the officers were prepared to respond to emergency situations within the district.
“Are our officers expected to go in and do what they can?” asked Blair.
Carlson noted the department’s policy “stipulates that the officers are required to respond and get on scene as fast as they can.”
“If there’s another officer coming soon after, they’ll wait for that officer,” Carlson said. “But if there’s not, they’ll go in and terminate the threat the best that they can.”
During a Yelm City Council study session on July 5, Carlson said the school resource officers would enhance safety within the school district. They will also provide anti-bullying and anti-harassment classes, as well as provide active shooter training, and crisis prevention and intervention services.
The Yelm Police Department hopes the addition of SROs will create a healthy relationship between the department and the students within Yelm Community Schools.
In other news, DePinto was authorized to sign an amendment to the Law Enforcement Record Management System. The record management system has been used by the City of Yelm since 2009. The new amendment will add the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office to the system.
The Law Enforcement Record Management System currently serves Yelm, Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and Tenino, as well as the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.
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