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Bainbridge police department to bring in school resource officer for BHS

The Bainbridge Island City Council has endorsed bringing in an additional police officer to join Bainbridge units.

At the request of the police department and the Bainbridge school district, a school resource officer will work to bridge the gap between law enforcement and youth at Bainbridge High School.

“I think it’s just a natural outgrowth of good relationships between schools and police departments,” said Bainbridge Island Police Chief Matthew Hamner.

The officer’s main duties would be to provide a safe learning environment for students, act as an intervention resource and serve as a mentor and role model to students and staff.

The officer would also provide police services to the campus.

Over the last year, the high school has seen several incidents that resulted in police calls to the campus on High School Road.

In one case, a 90-minute standoff on Halloween day between a former BHS student and officers resulted in charges against the man for criminal trespass.

In the most recent case, a confrontation between a student and the school security officer resulted in a concussion that sent the officer to the hospital.

By bringing in a school resource officer, Hamner said, the Bainbridge Island Police Department hopes to work with faculty and the school’s administration to solve problems and provide a more positive environment for students.

“There’s all kinds of things that the department can provide and that the school can outline,” Hamner said.

“For us, it’s always positive. When an SRO does their job well, good relationships between police and youth can thrive.”

Hamner anticipates reviewing Bainbridge’s existing police force to potentially bring someone who is already familiar with the island community on as a school resource officer.

The department will then go through a hiring process to fill the street patrol position.

The selection process would be based on the potential benefits to students, parents, the school district and high school personnel and the police department.

Hamner and the BHS principal will make a joint decision on the new officer.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Hamner briefed the city council on the costs and benefits involved in adding a school resource officer.

With initial equipment costs and labor, the council was informed, the new position would require approximately $145,790.

The police department will be applying to receive a U.S. Department of Justice grant to pay for 75 percent of the salary and benefits for the officer over the first three years.

The city will be required to provide the remaining portion of $24,490.

In the fourth year, the city will be required to retain the employee for 12 months. After this, the ongoing cost would be about $97,960 annually.

The police department anticipates submitting the grant application during the first quarter of 2015.

The council agreed to endorse the search for a new police officer at its meeting this week.

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