School resource officer approved for Stanton Academy

YAKIMA, Wash. -- It's official. Stanton Academy will have a new police presence starting in October.

"We're seeing a lot of schools having different issues and problems," said Yakima Mayor Micah Cawley. "It's so important to have an actual police officer on site there to deal with those types of issues and to get some rapport with the students."

This is the first year the alternative school has been in Yakima since it moved out of Union Gap. Police say the reason for adding the officer is not necessarily because of problems at the school. The department wants to keep it that way.

"Schools that have resource officers typically show a lower crime rate and higher safety level for students," said YPD Police Chief Dominic Rizzi.

The school itself requested the officer and it's now the seventh in the Yakima district to have one. There's widespread agreement that an SRO makes a difference when it comes to gang activity, graffiti and other problems.

"When you have an officer in there, you build trust. The students know there's someone that's there to protect them, to help them, mentor them," Rizzi said. "The officer gets to know the students so it's very beneficial to have someone in there on a daily basis."

When Stanton Academy asked for an SRO, there was a clear response from YPD.

"Absolutely, absolutely," Rizzi said. "This is very beneficial for the school for the students for the faculty, the police department, the citizens. It's a no lose situation all the way around."

While the city assigns the officer to the school for daily duty, the school district will pay the salary.