Update: Union agent reacts to Enfield meeting with police chiefs on security plan

Highline Schools Superintendent Susan Enfield and staff met Jan. 10 with the top law enforcement officials of the five municipalities in Highline to discuss possible changes to the district’s security plan.

At the meeting, Burien Chief Scott Kimerer, Des Moines Chief George Delgado, Normandy Park Chief Chris Gaddis, SeaTac Chief James Graddon and King County Sheriff’s Captain Patrick Butschli all agreed to assist Highline with recommendations.

However, Jason Powell, business agent for Teamsters Local 763, which represents about 1,000 district employees including security officers, dismisses the meeting as another ploy to disarm security officers.
Powell claims Enfield wants the police chiefs to agree to add more armed school resource officers (SROs), commissioned police officers assigned to schools, in exchange for disarming the district’s security officers. The district would pay part of the cost to the police agencies for the SROs.

Powell also said, if the security officers don’t need firearms certification, district officials could argue their wages should be lowered. The district’s collective bargaining agreement with the security officers ends Aug. 31.

The union representative said it would be more costly to add commissioned police officers over relying on armed district officers. He added that legally it is easier for security officers to confiscate weapons from students and carry out district policies than police officers.

Enfield said, “We are grateful for the partnership and expertise of our local police officials as we develop security standards that will provide the safest possible environment for our students and staff,”

“We look forward to working with our police chiefs throughout the process of evaluating and updating our security program.”

Enfield has promised the security department recommendations will be unveiled soon. She said parents, students, staff and the public will be able to provide feedback.

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