Program Overview

What is the Community Engagement Officer’s role, duty and limitations?

The role of the CEO on campus typically involves three parts: educator, informal mentor and guardian. The CEO shall be integrated into the school community through participation in faculty and student meetings and assemblies as appropriate. CEOs shall support a positive school climate by developing positive relationships with students, parents and staff, and by helping to promote a safe, inclusive and positive learning community.

The primary responsibility for maintaining proper order and conduct in the schools resides with school principals or their designee, with the support of other school staff. This may include minor violations of the law occurring during school hours or at school activities.

What is the role of teachers and school administrators?

Teachers and school administrators may ask a CEO to respond if an individual’s presence poses an immediate and/or continuing danger to others and/or substantial disruption of the educational process, or in other emergency circumstances, as determined by staff. CEOs do not need to be asked to respond in emergencies.

As a general rule, law enforcement activity should not take place on school premises. However, there are circumstances where formal law enforcement intervention/activity at school is warranted and may be conducted by a CEO. These law enforcement activities may include interviews and interrogations; search of a student’s person, possessions or locker; citations, filing of delinquency petitions, referrals to a probation officer, actual arrests, and other referrals to the juvenile justice system consistent with Policy 3230 (PDF) and Procedure 3230P (PDF) – Student Privacy and Searches.

What are not considered duties of CEOs?

The CEO duties do not extend to immigration enforcement, and the CEO will not inquire into or collect information about an individual’s immigration or citizenship status, or place of birth. Neither will the CEO provide information pursuant to notification requests from federal immigration authorities for the purposes of civil immigration enforcement, except as required by law, consistent with Policy 4310 (PDF) and Procedures 4310P (PDF) and 4310.1P (PDF) – District Relationship with Law Enforcement and Other Government Agencies.

What type of specialized training will the CEOs have?

Officer assigned to the program will have specialized training in working with adolescents and in the educational setting as outlined in RCW 28A.310.515.

What are the goals of the CEO Program?

Overarching goals for the program include:

  1. Keeping students out of the criminal justice system when possible. Officers will not be used to attempt to impose criminal sanctions in matters that are more appropriately handled within the educational system. For example, officers will not be involved in determining or applying school discipline.
  2. Build relationships with youth and staff members to reinforce collaborative problem-solving on range of issues and concerns such as school safety, security, threats, harassment, domestic violence, sexual assaults, social media misuse, etc.
  3. Educate students and staff about law, health and safety-related topics
  4. Mentor students as informal advisors and role models

How will CEOs service schools?

The assigned officers would not be permanently assigned to any building. Rather, the officers would rotate between buildings. This does not mean that officers would simply wait for a call for service to visit a school site, but that the district would create opportunities for officers to be engaged in our schools, i.e., introductions at assemblies, visits with school clubs, classroom visits, safety forums, parent informational nights, etc.

How will daily discipline be handled at schools?

The primary responsibility for maintaining proper order and conduct in the schools resides with school principals or their designee, with the support of other school staff. The CEO program does not diminish the district’s authority and shall not be used to attempt to impose criminal sanctions in matters that are more appropriately handled within the district. Principals or their designee maintain order and handle all student discipline matters consistent with Student Discipline Policy 3241 (PDF) and Procedure 3241 (PDF). CEOs are prohibited from becoming involved in formal school discipline situations that are the responsibility of school administration.

What type of uniform will the CEO wear? Will they be armed?

Understanding that the traditional police uniform can be a barrier during interactions with some communities, CEOs will have the discretion to wear a department-issued alternate uniform consisting of a polo shirt and pants. Regardless of the chosen uniform, officers will be armed with their department-issued handgun, cuffs, ballistic vest and extra magazine to ensure that they are prepared to respond to calls for service and emergencies.

Who does the CEO report to?

The CEO reports to the Bellevue Police Department and is a sworn officer. They will be located at the Bellevue School District Central Office and cover a territory of schools, working with building and district leadership, and officers assigned to the Factoria, Crossroads and Downtown stations.

How will CEOs be assigned?

With the CEO Program being a district-level resource, and officers not being assigned to buildings, a scheduling calendar will become very important for the success of the program. To the extent possible, officers will work geographic areas to ensure timely response to calls for service, as well as to enhance relationship building through consistency in staffing.

Background – Shifting from School Resource Officer to Community Engagement Officer

Why was the name changed from School Resource Officer to Community Engagement Officer?

The Design Task Force recommended that the title School Resource Officer should be changed to Community Engagement Officer (CEO) to better reflect the expectations and role of the officers assigned to the Bellevue School District, with the most important roles being identified as safety, collaborative problem solving, and relationship building.

When will the Community Engagement Officer Program be implemented in BSD schools?

To be determined

What is a Design Task Force?

BSD’s Interim Superintendent Jarvis tasked the Director of Security with forming a group of BSD administrators and Bellevue Police Department personnel to meet and discuss the way forward with the SRO Program. To this end, an SRO Program Design Task Force was formed.

What was the Design Task Force tasked with doing?

The charge of the Design Task Force was to come up with a program model that employs the assigned officers as a “district-level” safety and educational resource to ensure that they would support all 28 schools and six support facilities within the Bellevue School District. It was also charged with ensuring compliance with Washington State law as it pertains to SRO Programs, specifically RCWs 28A.310.515, 28A.320.124, and 28A.320.1241.

The Design Task Force met once a week between October 21 and December 2, 2021, to discuss and propose details for the way forward with the program.

How will progress updates about CEOs and their programs be made public?

The CEO, Bellevue Police Department and the Bellevue School District will work together to ensure the proper collection and reporting of data in compliance with state law RCW 28A.320.1241. A yearly report will be generated to the greater school community outlining instances involving CEOs that resulted in student discipline, use of force against a student, or a student’s arrest. This will be disaggregated by school, offense type, race, gender, age, and whether the student has an individualized education program or plan developed under section 504 of the federal rehabilitation act of 1973.

What will be the selection process for hiring CEOs?

The Task Force recognized the need to hire the right officer for the position and for consistency in the process of the selection of officers. At a minimum, the selection process should include two representatives from the school district (Director of Security and a building administrator) and include an oral interview and a role-play scenario. The role-play scenario would involve an administrator acting as a school building supervisor or parent engaging the officer in a student-based incident or concern.

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.