Edmonds School Board votes not to renew contracts with some local law enforcement

Edmonds School Board votes not to renew contracts with some local law enforcement

EDMONDS, Wash. — The Edmonds School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to end contracts with three local law enforcement agencies.

School Resource Officers contracts will not be renewed with the Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds police departments. The board will decide in August whether to renew the contract with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

The board said it will review the safety plans in place and make necessary changes for all students to feel safe in school.

Content Continues Below

“We agree that student safety is a top priority. I look forward to working with the Board to review the overall safety and wellness plans currently in place. I will then work with students, staff, families and community members to propose a new and improved safety plan for all of our students,” said Superintendent Dr. Balderas.

The acting chief of the Edmonds Police Department Jim Lawless released a statement in response.

“Last evening, the Edmonds School District held a meeting of the Board, wherein they voted to terminate contracts with the law enforcement agencies who provide School Resource Officers to the high schools within the district. The process for re-establishing School Resource Officers within the district several years ago was long, thoughtful, deliberate and collaborative. The emphasis, then and now, has always been about the building of relationships with, and maintaining the safety of, the students, staff and faculty. The Edmonds Police Department Officer assigned to Edmonds Woodway High School is highly skilled, trained and respected within the department, and more importantly within the EWHS community.

While I completely understand the desire and sense of urgency to immediately address community concerns surrounding social injustices, I believe that this decision was borne out of emotion, not data, and was hastily undertaken. I am disappointed that this process was not more deliberative and inclusive of all parties involved – the district, students, faculty, staff, and yes, the police department. I do not believe that the School Board President’s comments are in any way reflective of the positive relationships and impacts that our officer has had at Edmonds Woodway High School – I am quite disappointed that she would paint your police department’s efforts with such a broad brush. We have always worked in concert with these parties in developing response plans to day to day issues, as well as the critical incidents which are an unfortunate reality in today’s world. This is an opportunity lost to continue to develop and grow positive relationships between law enforcement and the youth within our community.

The full-time staff equivalent (FTE) position previously dedicated to the School Resource Officer will immediately be shifted to assisting with the development and implementation of the Edmonds Police Department’s body-worn camera pilot project.  The ultimate goal will be to secure funding to support a full body-worn camera program, to include program management and equipment/software sufficient enough to issue every sworn officer a body worn camera.”