Enhancing security at Moses Lake schools

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MOSES LAKE — The Moses Lake Police Department and Moses Lake School District are planning on adding two additional School Resource Officers in the near future to enhance security and safety at schools in the city.

According to MLPD Chief Kevin Fuhr the department created the School Resource Officer (SRO) program back in 1998 and started out with one SRO, with another SRO added in 2003. There has been no additional SROs added for the past 15 years, despite the addition of new schools and an increase in the number of students district-wide.

“Over the last couple of years we’ve had some pretty significant incidents that have happened in the schools, the high school and junior highs with weapons being brought to school,” Fuhr told the Moses Lake city council Tuesday night.

Fuhr and Moses Lake School District administration have been discussing adding two additional SROs, which allows the MLPD to have officers at Moses Lake High School, Frontier Middle School, Chief Moses Middle School and Endeavor Middle School. Each officer will also be assigned to cover additional elementary schools in the area of the main school they are assigned to. The plan is to have the two new SROs on duty during the next school year.

When it comes to costs the MLSD will pay the wages for the officers during the school year, with the city taking on the cost of wages during summer months and the officers assigned to patrol shifts, usually the shift that is impacted the most by summer vacations, during the three-month time span when school isn’t in session. The city is planning on using monies generated through the Redflex red light cameras that will soon be installed north and south on North Stratford Road at the Walmart/Winco private and at the South Pioneer Way/East Hill Avenue intersection.

“They (the MLSD) have also agreed to cover basically a vehicle fee for two new cars, because we need two additional cars for these two officers. They are going to cover a kind of monthly rental fee for those two vehicles and are willing to pay up to about $60,000 for those two cars over the life of the cars,” Fuhr explained.

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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