Snohomish Co. sheriff creates special unit for school safety

EVERETT, Wash. -- The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office has announced a major effort to increase school safety.

Sheriff John Lovick says the tragedy last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newport, Connecticut has prompted him to form the School Safety Unit, which will consist of five deputies assigned to schools in unincorporated parts of the county.

Since the Connecticut shooting, the sheriff says Snohomish County has increased visibility of deputies around schools, and the resulting feedback from parents has been overwhelmingly positive. Now, he is going a step further by creating the special unit.

Many parents dropping off kids at Gateway Middle School Wednesday morning said they would be happy to see armed deputies at the school.

"I like it," said parent Tori Jones. "I don't think there could be enough security to help all the kids. I think that would be a great idea."

"Anything they can do to improve school security is fantastic," said parent Lotte Klepfer.

But some were hesitant to embrace the idea.

"I don't know if that invites more antagonism," said parent Diana Dallal. "I don't like going somewhere where there is a lot of military (or) police present. That makes me feel more unsafe, I don't know why."

There are more than 100 schools in unincorporated parts of the county. The sheriff's office has not yet decided exactly which schools will get the most attention from the new force.