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Tacoma police to start working in five high schools

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on Aug. 29, 2009 at 2:12 pm with 11 Comments »
August 28, 2009 2:57 pm
Tacoma police officer Matt Watters
Tacoma police officer Matt Watters

Five Tacoma police officers will be working in the city’s five high schools this school year under an agreement between the police department and the school district.

The school year begins Wednesday. The school resource officers will be stationed full time at Foss, Lincoln, Stadium, Wilson and Mount Tahoma high schools. They are tasked with addressing potential school violence. They’ll work closely with school administrators, the school security officers and other staff members to address security and criminal activity on and around each campus, according to a Tacoma Schools press release.

Tacoma police officer Zach Smalls
Tacoma police officer Zach Smalls

The officers and their assignments are:

Foss: Matt Watters. Watters lost part of his left leg when, as a member of the elite Army Rangers, his squad approached a terrorist camp in Iraq in 2003. A rocket-propelled grenade hit Watters below the knee.

Lincoln: Bryce Clother

Mount Tahoma: Gordon Stark. Stark has been a community liaison officer for the department.

Stadium: Chris Yglesias. He’s also a member of the Marine Services Unit.

Wilson: Zach Smalls. In his off-duty time, Smalls runs an endurance and speed training summer camp for youths.

The idea for a school resource officer program staffed with on-duty Tacoma police officers began in 2007 after a deadly shooting at Foss High School.

The school district set aside $300,000 to pay for the five officers. The city also set aside money for the program.

Two officers started full-time last school year; the other three were added for the start of this school year. They are supervised by a police sergeant.

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. we have great hopes and expectations from you guys, good luck.

  2. tacomabefore says:

    Just another example of what the schools are doing – instead of the parents who are ultimately responsible for their childrens’ behaviors. Remember – children learn by example – not by being told what to do or not to do. The police should be watching the parents of these children!

  3. tacomasro says:

    I don’t know Officer Small, being a parent of Tacoma School District. I seen this officer at many high school events for hours during his assign shift. This has been my observation as a parent. Why is a Patrol Officer watching a football game instead of Patrolling.

  4. tacomasro says:

    This program will fail within the first 6 months.

  5. donny253 says:

    Way go smalls foot ball saved my life Rock on brother!

  6. tankforlove says:

    I am sad to think that those of you who have said negative comments regarding Officer Zach Smalls has no idea what he truly does or who he truly is. I think it’s great that Smalls would rather spend time to catch up on the youth of our community then in the nearest Starbucks. As a parent i would prefere an officer to know my children by name and learn their habits, especially on school grounds then learn the latest coffee drink.

    Zach Smalls does something in our commnity that no one else does, he strives to mentor the young adults that walk our streets. Everyone of us who work a full eight hour job has taken advantage of those who are paying our salaries, if it’s standing around and chatting about the local gossip or just standing around. Few of us are dedicated to the youth and our community the way officer Smalls is.

    HIs commitment is huge and his drive a non stoppable force and we should be proud that we have an inspirational motivator such as Smalls. If there is a child on the Wilson campus that needs positive mentoring, then Zach will do just that. As for his program, well i have witnessed it first hand and it is a powerful, positive tool. Wilson is extremely lucky to have such an honorable citizen serving and protecting their youth.

  7. tankforlove says:

    Before anyone has anything negative to say about officer Smalls and his youth program, I suggest you read the “testimonials” on his website.

  8. latteatthegorge says:

    As the person who does the registration for Zee Speed, I can assure you that Officer Smalls does not have to “recruit” students for camp! I continually field calls from other parents, campers, teachers, administrators,parol officers, and clergy looking to keep our youth in a positive program. It’s amazing to me that there can be such negative comments made about someone who is committed to offering our young people opportunities and experience that might not otherwise be available to them.

    These campers are exposed to positive role models that Officer Smalls does “recruit” to assure they understand the world is at their finger tips! People who are sharing with them their life experiences (people like Officer Watters who is awesome!) and showing them we all have choices in life that affects the way we live.

    Zee Speed participants are also encouraged to give back to their community with a book and food drive that is donated to local charities, which is something ALL of us could do more of!

    And is it a good thing to have our police officers interacting with our youth! And our youth interacting with our police officers in a positive way! We should all be so lucky to have any of these officers in our schools!

    Along with Officer Smalls is a entire Zee Speed staff that supports in guiding these youth to making positive decissions that enhance their future.

    I don’t understand nasty people……

  9. orionelite says:

    It is more than apparent that you don’t know Officer Smalls. This officer is an outstanding representation of what a police officer should be. He lives in the community, his children attend Tacoma School Public Schools, he works with and knows students in the district by name and he supports school activities. What more would you want from a public servant…hummm maybe have him give up his off duty time and find sponsers, for a Youth Program designed to help students become better student athelets, and give them something to do during the summer…then staff it with people in law enforcement; or education; or maybe university employees from some of the finest universities in the state…or maybe have former professional athletes come and speak to the students about the importance of education and sports in schools and the lessons they teach you about life…yes! These are the types of things which go on at Officer Smalls camps, that are non-profit and volenteer based, with a staff that, only gives positively to kids. No you don’t know Officer Smalls.

  10. theoneandonlyRock says:

    “Ok, lets line’m up!! We got cattle to herd and horses to break!! Lets go!”

    To all of you people who are bad mouthing my man Zach, the staff, and our beloved program, in the great words of The Rock “IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU THINK!!” because you are being nothing but negative!! you shouldn’t even be aloud to add a comment about ZeeSpeed if its negative. ZeeSpeed is nothing but positive! And I mean NOTHING but positive.

    1)Officer Smalls and his staff run the youth endurance camp on THEIR OWN PERSONAL TIME during the summer so there better not be anymore comments about how he should be doing police work instead of running a camp. He goes from work, to us kids at the camp, along with every other staff member out on that field.

    2)I have yet to see any of you people who are bad mouthing my bro or the camp to come out to see what its about, OR, better yet, I want to see you people start a program in the community that gets us kids off the streets, away from the teenage pregnancies, the drugs, violence, gangs, drugs, drug dealing, and oh yea did i mention drugs, and everything else that goes on that you people are oblivious to. And do so in a positive way.

    3)I am always hearing of parents and people from the community complaining all the time about how they wish students would do better in classes. ZeeSpeed gears 90% of everything we do towards class work and doing better in school and academics. If you don’t understand why or it doesn’t make sense to you how, well then, I guess I better see you out on the field with us. school work is mental and physical. You gotta do the school work but you also gotta show up to get the assignment!

    “We are wasting day light!! lets go!!”

    4) Earlier i stated that ZeeSpeed was a program about nothing but positive, and it is. you will never see any of the field staff, parents or even the students talk down, put down, or make fun of any person that is out on that field and I mean any person!! you can go to any other summer camp, whether its football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, tennis, lacrosse, wrestling, summer school, tutoring, or anything in-between, and i can guarantee you, they will be talking down to each other, or making fun of someone, or leaving a person behind.the coaches and trainers will not be positive about anything except towards their favorite players, which favoritism isn’t right, but here at ZeeSpeed, NO, none of that will ever happen. EVER. we are all about bringing people up, bringing each other up. name another program where the coaches run and exercise with the students. no were!! The field staff don’t do what you will see in EVERY OTHER CAMP, which is “encouraging from the sidelines, OH NO, they are out there running just as hard as we are.

    5) The staff and students!!! OK, big problem with all of you negative people. you say “Its a “Perfect” setting for Zach (Smalls) to recruit for a his personal “training camp” “. OK………..lets get a few things straightened out. First of all, how can he “recruit” for a camp at a Tacoma school, when the participants come from beyond Tacoma school district? We have students from Puyallup, Spanaway, Fedralway, Ruston, Point Defiance, just for starters. We students come from all over the place. Second of all, Smalls doesn’t recruit for the program, this isn’t soom government organization that when you join the camp he owns you, no no no. So lets take that nasty little word “recruiting” and get that out of here. No one is “recruited”. We bring our friends in with us and then they bring there friends with them, so on and so forth. At ZeeSpeed we are made into a family. A family who doesn’t ever leave a man behind, who doesn’t put down the man or woman next to him

    6)And finally, the best part, i want a group of you negative people to name another group of kids who get up to be on the field at 0750 in the morning during their summer vacation. That’s right, only we do that. Only we are crazy enough to get up early, encourage the man or woman next to you to challenge you, and never stop no matter what the pain. And then we get special guests like Officer Matt Waters who comes out and inspires us. Guests who talk to us about how to pull through and keep yourself mentally and physically strong. Guests to tell us to keep our heads up and never quit.

    This is hands down the best program in the country. If you want to know why, join us in the summer and you will find out….unless you cant handle the truth.

  11. pac1023 says:

    It baffles me sometimes what people spend their time doing. Some of you on here have nothing better to do than to bad mouth a man/public servant who is trying to give students something to do that is positive during their summer vacation. “RECRUITING” to a summer program? Explain how you do that? Is it not ok for Mr. Smalls to tell student athletes about his camp? Is it not ok for Mr. Smalls to give the youth of Pierce County and avenue to help them succeed on the field or court. Let a teen do something violent of get locked up and you will the first to destroy them and persecute them. Let a person such as Mr. Smalls try to do something positive for the teens of Pierce County and he gets bashed for that and called a “RECRUITER.” “theoneandonlyRock” made a lot of valid points. Officer Smalls, the athletes, and Staff of Zspeed take great pride in running a camp that can help any student or athlete find confidence in themselves. Zspeed is not about helping young people in just Tacoma, but Pierce County. When you negative people get a chance look at the roster for the program and there are student-athletes from South Kitsap, Bethel, Bellarmine as well as the city schools in Tacoma. Did I mention Zspeed does community service activities such as book drives and food drives. I can’t wait to hear the negative backlash I get from posting this. I can read it now….”those community service activities are a cover up, etc.”
    To all the police officers working the Tacoma Public High Schools I commend you and the district for working together to try and create a safer environment for young people to learn and socialize.

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