School Resource Program

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The Kirkland School Resource Officer program is a partnership between the City of Kirkland and the Lake Washington School District. The primary purposes of the School Resource Officer (SRO) Program are to:

  • Help keep students physically, socially and emotionally safe at school.
  • Provide for positive interactions between the SROs and students, families, and community members in order to make the Police Department more accessible and approachable.
  • Connect students with supportive services.
  • Help keep students out of the criminal justice system.

As of 2020, in partnership with Lake Washington School District, the Kirkland Police Department provides six School Resource Officers assigned to Lake Washington High School, Juanita High School, Kirkland Middle School, Finn Hill Middle School, Kamiakin Middle School, and International Community School/Emerson High School.

School Resource Officer Training Requirements

School Resource Officer Training Requirements and Status

Kirkland’s School Resource Officers have mandated training either via state law (RCW or WAC) and/or Kirkland PD Policy:

  • Basic SRO training course The National Association of School Resource Officers Basic School Resource Officer Course is a forty-hour (40) block of instruction designed for law enforcement officers and school safety professionals working in an educational environment and with school administrators. The course provides tools for officers to build positive relationships with both students and staff. The course is also beneficial for educational professionals dedicated to providing a safe learning environment and provides a more in-depth understanding of the role and functions of an SRO. The course emphasizes three main areas of instructions:
    1. Law Enforcement Function – Instruction on the differences between law enforcement when conducted inside a school environment including understanding the teen brain and de-escalation techniques.
    2. Mentoring Students – Instruction designed to provide tools to be a positive role model for youth including informal counseling techniques.
    3. Guest Speaking – Instruction on a variety of instructional techniques as well as classroom management tools to provide law-related education to students.

    Attendees gain a solid working knowledge of the School Resource Officer concept and how to establish a lasting partnership with their schools. The purpose of this course is to provide participants with information regarding the school resource officer concept and the skills necessary for its successful implementation.

    Course Objectives: 
    • Clearly define and explain the SRO Triad concept.
    • Demonstrate positive and professional communication.
    • Apply the concepts of planning, prevention, and response to school safety

  • Advanced SRO training course The NASRO Advanced School Resource Officers Course is a twenty-four hour (24) block of instruction that focuses on more advanced techniques for the School Resource Officer. Topics covered include law updates, technology and social media, improving communication with administrators and information on current youth-related topics. Participants will also spend two hours at a school building conducting a “Site Assessment.” The Course is a designed for any law enforcement officer working in an educational environment. This course, following the SRO Triad model, advances the SRO's knowledge and skills as a law enforcement officer, informal counselor, and educator. 
  • Course Objectives: 

    • Learn strategies to work closely with school administrators on problem solving and crime prevention strategies.
    • Develop a better understanding of the causes and solutions for school violence.
    • Conduct a site assessment on the school buildings within their school district.
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    • RCW 28A.320.124 Required Training Topics
    1. Constitutional and civil rights of children in schools, including state law governing search and interrogation of youth in schools
    2. Child and adolescent development
    3. Trauma-informed approaches to working with youth
    4. Recognizing and responding to youth mental health issues
    5. Educational rights of students with disabilities, the relationship of disability to behavior, and best practices for interacting with students with disabilities
    6. Collateral consequences of arrest, referral for prosecution, and court involvement
    7. Resources available in the community that serve as alternatives to arrest and prosecution and pathways for youth to access services without court or criminal justice involvement
    8. Local and national disparities in the use of force and arrests of children
    9. De-escalation techniques when working with youth or groups of youth
    10. State law regarding restraint and isolation in schools, including RCW 28A.600.485
    11. Bias free policing and cultural competency, including best practices for interacting with students from particular backgrounds, including English learners, LGBTQ, and immigrants
    12. The federal family educational rights and privacy act, FERPA

Basic and Advanced SRO training classes are offered during the Summer months.  Kirkland’s more experienced SROs, who are assigned to the two high schools, have attended both the Basic and Advanced classes. Kirkland’s newest four SROs, who are assigned to the middle schools, attended the Basic SRO class prior to the start of their first year and will hopefully attend the Advanced class during their second year of SRO assignment dependent on availability due to COVID. All of Kirkland’s SROs have attended the required training per the RCW.

School Resource Officer Task Force Report of Recommendations

View the SRO Task Force Report of Recommendations

Throughout 2019 and early 2020, the City and the Lake Washington School District convened a task force consisting of various members of the Kirkland community.  The task force consisted of community members representing various organizations and perspectives, as well as leadership staff from the City and District. The City contracted with an external consultant to help plan and facilitate task force meetings, and the group met seven times between June 2019 and January 2020.

The task force was convened in response to concerns from the Kirkland Human Service Commission and other Kirkland residents about possible unintended consequences of a police presence on middle school campuses, specifically regarding potential disproportionate impacts on students of color and students with disabilities, as have been documented in other communities. Generally, the task force found that the Kirkland SRO program uses best practices for officer training, does not involve officers in school discipline, and employs experienced officers.

Through the task force’s conversations, research, and review, the group identified several recommendations to help address concerns in the community, including two immediate improvements. First, the process for data collection and reporting of student contacts should be more robust to ensure that the SRO program is using best practices and is not causing unintended negative consequences, particularly for students of color, LGBTQ students, and students with disabilities.  In August of 2020, the Council adopted R-5434 to ensure the safety and respect of Black people and to dismantled structural racism in Kirkland.  Creating a School Resource Officer Dashboard was one of one of many actions called for in R-5434, and the City is currently developing it.

The second immediate recommendation from the task force was for there to be continuous re-introduction of the SRO program to parents, students, and the school community in order to communicate the program’s purpose, the role of the SROs, their responsibilities in the schools, and students’ rights.  If you or your group want an orientation from one of our SROs, please let us know – we’re happy to come meet with your group, tell you about what we do, and answer any questions or concerns you may have. 

FAQs

Do School Resource Officers ask about immigration status and work with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)?

School Resource Officers won’t ask about the immigration or citizenship status of a student, except where consular notification is required by law for the protection of the individual. Per Kirkland Police Policy (Lexipol 411.4), it is the policy of the Kirkland Police Department that all members make personal and professional commitments to equal enforcement of the law and equal service to the public. Confidence in this commitment will increase the effectiveness of this department in protecting and serving the entire community and recognizing the dignity of all persons, regardless of their immigration status.


Are School Resource Officers involved in school discipline?

No, School Resource Officers are not involved in school discipline.  School discipline is the internal discipline model used at school by school staff (detention, suspension, expulsion). Formal school discipline situations are handled by school administrators within the school environment. SROs do not function as a school disciplinarian, but they will conduct law enforcement investigations concerning situations that are beyond the scope of school administrators to handle, such as violent criminal allegations and child abuse/neglect allegations.


Are school staff members or School Resource Officers allowed to search students?

A school principal, vice principal, or principal's designee may search a student, the student's possessions, and the student's locker, if the principal, vice principal, or principal's designee has reasonable grounds to suspect that the search will yield evidence of the student's violation of the law or school rules. A search is mandatory if there are reasonable grounds to suspect a student has illegally possessed a firearm in violation of RCW 9.41.280.

Per RCW 28A.600.210, the Washington State Legislature finds that illegal drug activity and weapons in schools threaten the safety and welfare of school children and pose a severe threat to the state educational system. School officials need authority to maintain order and discipline in schools and to protect students from exposure to illegal drugs, weapons, and contraband.

School Resource Officers are bound by all 4th amendment search and seizure laws that apply to other police officers. School Resource Officers may be asked to assist school administration in an administratively justified search. They may be the “principal’s designee” as noted above based on their knowledge and experience, along with knowledge on safe handling of contraband or possible weapons.


When would School Resource Officers use force?

Use of force is when a police officer uses physical techniques or tactics, chemical agents, or weapons on another person, as well as a show of force, such as displaying a firearm and/or taser, in order to gain compliance or overcome resistance. The Kirkland Police Department Policy Manual states: “Officers shall use only that amount of force that reasonably appears necessary given the facts and circumstances perceived by the officer at the time of the event to accomplish a legitimate law enforcement purpose. Given that no policy can realistically predict every possible situation an officer might encounter, officers are entrusted to use well-reasoned discretion in determining the appropriate use of force in each incident” [Kirkland Police Policy - Lexipol 300].

A juvenile under 14 years of age should not be restrained unless they are suspected of a dangerous felony or when the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the juvenile may resist, attempt escape, injure him/herself, injure the officer or damage property. School Resource Officers should only use restraints on a student while at school or a school-related activity when there is an imminent likelihood of serious harm and pursuant to the school policy for students and staff (RCW 28A.600.485).

Meet our School Resource Team!

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Sergeant Eric Karp

Sergeant Eric Karp is the Kirkland Police Department Community Services Unit Sergeant and has been with the Kirkland Police Department since 2006. Sergeant Karp is also assigned as the School Resource Officer for the International Community School and Emerson High School. He has worked as Patrol Sergeant prior to his move to the Community Services Unit. Outside of work, Sergeant Karp enjoys spending time in the great outdoors. Contact Sergeant Karp.

 

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Officer Tyler Davidson

Officer Tyler Davidson is assigned to Juanita High School and has been with the Kirkland Police Department since 2007. He has worked as a Family Violence Unit detective and a Patrol Officer. Prior to entering Law enforcement, Officer Davidson played professional baseball in the minor leagues for the New York Mets. Outside of work, Officer Davidson enjoys spending time with his family and anything to do with sports. Contact Officer Davidson.

 

Officer Mark Brown

Officer Mark Brown is assigned to Kamiakin Middle School and helps to cover Kirkland Middle School.  He has been with the Kirkland Police Department since 2003. He was worked as a Police Training Officer and as a Detective prior to becoming a School Resource Officer. He enjoys interacting with the students and staff throughout the City of Kirkland. Officer Brown has a family of six children, two cats, and a dog. Contact Officer Brown.

 

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Officer Daniel Luebke

Officer Daniel Luebke is assigned to Finn Hill Middle School and helps cover Kirkland Middle School.  He has been with the Kirkland Police Department since 2017.  Prior to his assignment as a School Resource Officer, Officer Luebke served as a Patrol Officer.  Officer Luebke comes from a long line of teachers within his immediate family and is committed to being an additional mentorship figure within the Kirkland Community he serves. Contact Officer Luebke.

 

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Officer Storm Gehrke

Officer Storm Gehrke is assigned to Lake Washington High School and has been an officer since 2017, working at Mercer Island PD prior to joining Kirkland PD. Before being assigned as a School Resource Officer, Officer Gehrke worked patrol for the previous four years. Outside of police work, Officer Gehrke spent several years as a volunteer Young Life leader working with middle school and high school aged kids and is looking forward to carrying this experience of building positive relationships into Lake Washington High School. Contact Officer Gehrke.