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.
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.