Renton City Council approves agreement for officers in high schools

School district will pay the city $85,000 each school year for each officer assigned.

During their Oct. 17 meeting, the Renton City Council approved an interlocal agreement between the Renton Police Department and the Renton School District that would continue a program that puts school resource officers in the community’s schools.

“Through the School Resource Officer Program, the District and the Renton PD have committed to providing a safe school environment that promotes education and SRO interaction with students in a positive caring manner,” according to the interlocal agreement. “This is accomplished with a committed partnership among the school, student, staff, parents, police department, and neighbors to enhance the schools and the community.”

School resource officer programs will be held in Renton School District high schools including Renton High School, Hazen High School and Lindbergh High School.

The agreement includes provisions such as those that prohibit school resource officers from acting as a “a school disciplinarian, as disciplining students is a school responsibility.” However, it does allow that school employees contact the officer if a student is believed to have acted in violation of the law.

“The SRO must understand when to informally interact with a student and when to enforce the law. Their focus should be on keeping students out of the criminal justice system, when possible, and should not attempt to impose criminal sanctions that are more appropriately handled within the educational system,” according to the agreement.

It also maintains that school resource officers will have a primary obligation of their duty to the city, and not to the district. It also keeps the officers from investigating the immigration status of students.

“Duties do not extend to immigration enforcement and the SRO will not inquire into or collect information about an individual’s immigration or citizenship status, or place of birth,” according to the agreement. “Neither will the SRO provide information pursuant to notification requests from federal immigration authorities for the purposes of civil immigration enforcement, except as required by law.”

The district will pay the city $85,000 each school year for each SRO assigned, as it is provisioned that “the district will compensate the city for a portion of the salary and benefits incurred for the assigned School Resource Officers on a monthly basis for the duration of the agreement.”

The agreement lasts through the last day of school in 2023.