The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office will officially launch the newly formed School Service Unit this Friday, March 15 at Woodside Elementary in Mill Creek.
After the December 14, 2012 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, Sheriff John Lovick proposed the School Services Unit to address his vision that the Sheriff’s Office be a school safety resource to our county’s unincorporated schools.
“As far we know the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office School Services Unit approach to school safety is the first of its kind in the state of Washington, possibly even the nation,” said Sheriff Lovick. “It builds on establishing and maintaining relationships between law enforcement and school districts, school leadership, teachers, staff, students and their families.”
The School Services Unit is under the command of Sgt. Scott Parker and is made up of both School Resource Officers (“SROs”) and School Services Deputies.
“It is important that the School Services Unit and School Services Deputies not be perceived as a replacement for a School Resource Officer, rather an enhancement to what we currently offer schools in regards to student safety,” said Sgt. Parker. “School Resource Officers will still be the only deputies that are contracted by school districts to work with specific county schools.”
The Sheriff’s Office currently employees four SROs serving the school districts of Stanwood, Sultan, Mukilteo, and Edmonds. SROs are considered the “gold standard” as a role for law enforcement within schools, especially secondary schools. They focus on the specific school(s) and community(ies) to which they’ve been assigned. They are engaged in and familiar with the day-to-day activities of their school.
Similar to a “patrol beat,” Snohomish County School Services Deputies will serve a large area and large number of schools (there are over 100 public and private schools spread out over almost 2,000 square miles in unincorporated Snohomish County). They will have responsibilities to many schools and their presence or involvement in any individual school may be limited.