Yakima police officer to be assigned to Stanton Academy - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima police officer to be assigned to Stanton Academy

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- Students at Stanton Academy in Yakima will be seeing a big change on campus next month. A uniformed, Yakima police officer will soon be patrolling the halls, full-time.

A Student Resource Officer at Stanton isn't something new. They've actually had private security SRO's on campus for several years. But now that they've opened their new school back in the city limits, Yakima police and the school district thought it was time the alternative high school get a YPD officer like everyone else.

"It's good for the students, it builds that relationship with law enforcement and puts them in a different light," said Clint Endicott, principal at Stanton.

Starting in October, students at Stanton Academy will have a full-time Yakima police officer on campus.

It's a program that a lot of schools in the district participate in, but something Stanton couldn't have while their campus was in Union Gap.

But with the opening of their new facility on River Road in Yakima, it's something school officials think will be a big plus for students.  

"We find it very beneficial anytime that you can have consistency in an organization, it's important. It's important for kids, families and we're looking forward to that," said Endicott.

"To have a uniformed police officer on campus day in and day out is of paramount importance to the schools and to the community," said Lt. Mike Merryman with the Yakima Police Dept.

And police says it's not only about keeping students safe while on campus, but building better ties between young people and law enforcement.

"Relationship building that happens between students and police officer and that ability to see an officer in a different light. To understand that there's authority and there's rules and there's a reason for that," said Lt. Merryman.

And Principal Endicott says he's sure it's going to be a positive change for his students.

"Can't be all about kids getting busted, it's about making sure if a kid needs help that they're going to get it," he said.

The school district will be paying 75% of the new resource officer's salary while YPD picks up the rest of the tab.

Lt. Merryman says with that money the department will hire a new officer to make up for the loss.