Yakima Police Prepared to Protect Students in School Shooting
Three children and three adults were shot dead in a shooting at the Covenant school in Nashville Monday. The students were all elementary school age kids.
It's another shooting in a series of school shootings that continue to threaten safety at schools around the country. The shooter, identified only as a female was killed by police.
It's always a concern in Yakima as police work with school districts to increase security to try and prevent a tragic shooting.
RESOURCE OFFICERS ARE ARMED OFFICERS ON CAMPUS
In Washington state resource/police officers are stationed at schools around the state but not all schools in the Yakima School District are protected by resource officers but state lawmakers would like that to change.
Representatives in the state house are backing House Bill 1071 which would provide funding for a school resource officer in every school in the state. It's a spendy proposal that's not likely to pass but some school officials say it's a start to providing safer schools in the state.
FUNDING HOWEVER IS ALWAYS AND ISSUE
In the past Yakima Police Resource Officers were active in area middle schools but that's no longer the case. Resource officers are now at Eisenhower and Davis High Schools.
Capt. Jay Seely says in the past the department had enough officers to cover all city areas and place officers at city high schools and middle schools. But that's no longer the case. The city is still short 11 officers.
That shortage not only forced the cancellation of middle school resource officers but also forced the city to cancel the traffic unit in 2021. The unit is slowly being built up again but so far there's been no increase in school resource Officers.
YAKIMA POLICE PLANS WITH THE YAKIMA SCHOOL DISTRICT
Seely says they do work closely with the Yakima School District in hardening entrances to schools. Seely says the district last year hired a retired officer to coordinate private security in the district.
A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF SCHOOLS HAVE RESOURCE OFFICERS
88 of Washington state's 321 school districts have a police officer or deputy serving as a SRO. That's 27% of districts. Last year the Yakima School District Superintendent Dr. Trevor Greene sent an email to parents in the district following a tragic school shooting in Texas. In the letter Greene wrote;
"I want to assure our staff and families that YSD has a robust safety and security team who work hard every day to protect the well-being of our school’s precious occupants. We call on our school community to work together to keep our schools peaceful and safe by reporting any signs of suspicious activity or behavior to our school or district staff.
City officials say if the funding is ever available placing resource officers in all schools would be an ideal and safe situation to prevent future tragedy."
A RECORD AMOUNT OF SCHOOL SHOOTINGS HAVE HAPPENED
2022 was a deadly year in schools around the country. The Washington Post says there were 46 shootings reported at K-12 schools breaking the record of 42 the year before. A total of 34 students and adults were killed in the shootings last year.