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School officers return to Bellevue School District

The Bellevue School district has announced it's going to launch a new Community Engagement Officer Program next fall in partnership with the city and the Bellevue Police Department.

District officials say this will be a reformed iteration of it's School Resource Officer Program, with officers providing safety, support, and other resources for students, their families, and staff.

“We [the school district] rely on us working together to ensure our families are connected to community resources so our youth can have more positive interactions with law enforcement that only come with understanding, collaboration, and mutual respect," said Interim Superintendent Art Jarvis.

SROs with the district returned to their regular patrol duties after the pandemic hit in 2020. The state Legislature also passed laws shortly after that which required districts to change their SRO programs in K-12 schools in response to the death of individuals in police custody.

The move in Bellevue also comes after the district made some changes to its school officer programs. In October 2020, it formed an advisory committee around how school resource officers operate in the district. Reforms were adopted, which a task force then developed into a new program. This fall will be the debut of the reformed school officer program.

“Safety is built on trust and positive relationships, including those between faculty, school administrators, students, parents, and law enforcement," said Director of BSD Security Doug James. "The Community Engagement Officer Program will develop collaborative problem-solving strategies to resolve issues affecting our youth and help every child reach their full potential.”