BSD is currently reforming and renewing its School Resource Officer program, with the goal of launching a new program structure in the fall of 2022. This work is underway in partnership with district administrators and the department Bellevue Police Department.
Background – Moving from School Resource Officer to Community Engagement Officer
When schools transitioned to remote learning in March 2020, School Resource Officers (SROs) assigned to the Bellevue School District resumed their regular community patrol duties. Shortly thereafter, in response to the deaths of individuals at the hands of law enforcement, the Washington State Legislature passed laws requiring changes to ORS programs in K-12 settings. This included specialized training for assigned officers and an annual review of any programs implemented.
An advisory committee was created in October 2020 and the BSD community began to critically examine the role of law enforcement in our schools. This advisory committee proposed two possible options for the future of the SRO program: Option 1 – Reform, or Option 2 – Transform. These options were presented to Acting Superintendent Jarvis who chose Option 1 – Reform.
What is changing?
The district recognizes safety, collaborative problem solving, and relationship building as the most important roles for an officer assigned to the school district. With the importance of community and relationship building being central to these roles, the title of School Resource Officer will be changed to Community Engagement Officer (CEO) better reflect the expectations and role of agents assigned to BSD.
The district is working to finalize an agreement with the City of Bellevue and the Bellevue Police Department to have six CEOs assigned to the school district beginning in the fall of 2022. These officers will not be assigned to any specific building but will be District-wide resources responsible for responding and providing support to all BSD schools.
What is the role of a community engagement officer?
Officers will work to make positive contributions to the school community and general school safety and help foster trusting relationships between youth and law enforcement.
- CEOs will contribute to school safety teams by ensuring a safe and secure campuseducating students and staff on topics related to law, health and safety, and working with students as informal advisors and role models.
- CEOs will help develop collaborative problem-solving strategies to address issues affecting our youthwith the goal of protecting every child so they can reach their full potential.
- CEOs will focus on keeping students out of the criminal justice system and will not be used to impose criminal sanctions in matters that are better handled within the education system. For example, CEOs will not be involved in enforcing violations of school rules or determining and enforcing school discipline.