Yakima School District is using food to help keep schools more secure
YAKIMA, Wash.- People have said a way to a man's heart is through their stomach.
Well, that's apparently true for law enforcement as well.
The Yakima School District will now be offering meals during breakfast and lunch to first responders for the rest of the year.
“This is the first day of a great partnership. We've always had a great partnership with the different first responders. I think this simply gets us to another level,” Superintendent Jack Irion said.
That other level is having more of a police presence throughout the week.
Yakima Police Chief Dominic Rizzi said they've been looking for an opportunity like this to interact with schools in the area.
“You never know when an officer is going to show up now,” he said. “We're going to have a schedule and encourage our officers to stop into the school and having that presence is good.”
Irion said the presence alone would help students and parents feel more comfortable when dropping their kids off at school.
The Yakima School District already has commissioned resource officers in their schools, but having more never hurts.
“It's always nice to have a presence. Just the fact there's a police car out front and those kinds of things while they're here having a meal,” Irion said.
The best part is that it's not going to cost taxpayers a cent. Sodexo, the company that provides the food for students, has decided to cover the expenses.
Rizzi sat down with students this morning and enjoyed pancakes and pineapple juice with them.
He said having officers simply coming into schools more often could benefit them, if they ever had to respond to an emergency.
“The layout, how they're set up, how the staff is. How's working there and even learning what the issues are that the school might be facing on any given day,” he said.
So, while it may seem like just a meal. Rizzi said it more than that. It's an unconventional way to protect students and have them get to know who keeps their streets safe.
The school district said the offer is open to any first responder in Yakima or Union Gap, which includes fire fighters and paramedics.
All they need to do is show up in full uniform and visit the main office.