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Future of campus cop to be discussed

SNOQUALMIE - Unless the Snoqualmie Valley School District can assist with some of the costs associated with its school resource officer, the position will likely be cut.

That was the message sent by the Snoqualmie City Council at its Jan. 12 meeting when it unanimously approved sending a letter to the district stating that the city is considering pulling its officer from full-time school duties at the district's campuses in Snoqualmie.

Representatives from the city of Snoqualmie will be meeting with the board of directors for the Snoqualmie Valley Public School District on Jan. 22 to discuss its desire to discontinue the school resource officer program.

"It has been determined that the school resource officer program, though clearly beneficial, is not a financial obligation that the city of Snoqualmie can justify continuing without support from the Snoqualmie Valley School District," a preliminary copy of the letter stated.

The move to send the letter was made following previous discussions of what to do with the program, which had, since its 1999 beginning, been funded with grant money. Last year the grants ran out and the city footed the bill.

Although both the city and district supported the program, both said they have been unable to fund the position by themselves.

Snoqualmie officials expressed a bit of frustration about how the district was responding to the city, and spoke about pulling the officer unless they got financial support.

"I'm glad it [the letter] was worded this strong," said Councilman Matt Larson.

Because Mount Si High School has children from all over the Valley in its doors, Snoqualmie officials have expressed interest in talking with other municipalities about getting help in funding the officer.

North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing said he had not been approached by the city yet about help, but said he is a supporter of the school resource officer.

Snoqualmie Police Chief Jim Schaffer has said that whatever deal is made with the district regarding the officer, the police will still be a presence at the school. Schaffer said that he and the department have had a long working relationship with the district and that the move to stop the program was not a personal decision, but a financial one.

"It was a great program," Schaffer said.

* The Snoqualmie Valley Public School District will meet at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 22, at the district's administration building on 8001 Silva Ave., S.E., Snoqualmie.

Ben Cape can be reached at (425) 888-2311 or by e-mail at ben.cape@valleyrecord.com.

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