Mass shootings task force calls for more School Resource Officers in Washington schools
On the heels of the Thousands Oaks shooting, Washington's Mass Shooting Work Group is making recommendations to state lawmakers about how to intervene and prevent mass shootings. The new committee was formed after the Parkland School shooting in Florida.
Among the 25 recommendations is a call for more school resource officers.
SROs are members of law enforcement that are dedicated to working in schools.
"It's not really just about responding to an active shooter. It’s about building relationships, assessing threats, keeping students in schools as opposed to in the criminal justice system. It's about creating a safe environment,” said Steve Strachan, Executive Director of Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.
KOMONews reached out to three different school districts: Seattle Public Schools, Highline School District, Kent School District.
Highline School District says it has four SROs, one at each high school.
Seattle Public Schools points out their SROs are called Security Emphasis Officers. It has four SEOs who are unarmed police officers working at the middle schools. The district also has 60 unarmed “security specialists” that work at secondary schools.
None of the school districts KOMO News contacted wanted to comment on the recommendations because they had not seen them yet.
The work group recommendations included school resource officers, creating a multi-stage threat assessment process and extreme risk protection orders. Recommendations also call for more “accessible and effective mental health services.”
The Mass Shooting Work Group will write a report with its recommendations for lawmakers by December 1.