Leaders call on ESD to reinstate school resource officers as gang violence hits Lynnwood

LYNNWOOD, Washington, August 13, 2022 – Local leaders and community members gathered at the Silver Creek Family Church in Lynnwood to discuss public safety in an open forum on Wednesday, August 10.

“There is an inherent need for authorities to help keep our public safe,” Lynnwood Councilwoman and event organizer Julieta Altamirano-Crosby said in her opening remarks at her second forum. Let’s talk about public safety.” “People’s lives depend on public safety professionals and their ability to respond quickly, effectively and accurately to situations.”

Panelist at the Parlons de sécurité publique forum, which took place on August 10, 2022.

The forum comes a month after the tragic shooting deaths of Jesus Sanchez, Jr., 16, and Tidus Goodwin-Linville, 15, at Spruce Park, a drive-by shooting that injured two, and another shooting at Pick and Shoot. in Lynnwood.

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Pictured are Lynnwood Councilor Shannon Sessions, Mayor Christine Frizzell and Judge Valeria Bouffiou from the Let’s Talk About Public Safety forum held on August 10, 2022.

Mayor Christine Frizzell acknowledges that recent events “have been a bit unsettling,” but assured attendees that her administration takes public safety seriously.

“We recognize that things have been a bit unsettling, and we want to assure you that we are aware of this and are taking action,” Mayor Frizzell said.

Lynnwood currently has 71 law enforcement officers and the city council recently approved five additional positions.

Wednesday’s forum panelists included James Nelson, Lynnwood Police Chief, Lynn Sordel, Director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts, Bill Franz, Director of Public Works, Justice Valerie Bouffiou, Lynnwood Municipal Court, and Cole Langdon, Lynnwood Police Department. Karina Gasperin was the forum moderator.

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Lynnwood Police Chief James Nelson speaks with residents of the reception area during the Let’s Talk About Public Safety Forum held on August 10, 2022.

Almost all of the questions posed by community members to the panelist focused on gang violence.

“I want to know exactly what you are doing to keep young people out of gangs, especially young people who are primarily targeted, and what are you doing in the community?” asked Lynnwood resident Diana, who summed up the general sentiment of community members.

The removal of School Resource Officers (SROs) by the Edmonds School District in 2021 as well as a new law, HB1140, requiring underage suspects to consult with an attorney prior to police questioning which came into effect this year, Chief Nelson and other panelists attribute two significant factors hindering the preventive intervention of gang violence in Lynnwood.

“School Resource Officers see these issues as they develop,” Chief Nelson said. “They tried to intervene with parents and students, and it’s not an easy task. Some of that is gone and we’re trying to find a way to access those kids.

“Legislation is a big issue and I see my role as informing policy…when we take away the ability of the police to interview a minor in custody without a lawyer, there is a big impact,” the chief said. Nelson in answering a similar question posed. by another resident.

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Photo from the Parlons de sécurité publique forum held on August 10, 2022.

Along with offering to fully fund Lynnwood Police Department special operations to combat gang violence in the next two-year budget, Councilor Shannon Sessions stressed that residents should contact the Edmonds School Board to reinstate officers. school resources.

“I want to reiterate that we have heard the [removal of] The school resource officers were the wrong call when this happened,” Councilwoman Sessions said. “I’m a mother of five and have worked in public safety, it’s predictable to see what’s going on and plus all the other stuff is something you can’t measure. This is huge and it is important to reach out to the school board.

School Resource Officers
Photo from the Parlons de sécurité publique forum held on August 10, 2022.

Community members asked if the Edmonds School District was considering reinstating the school resource officer program to combat rising gang violence, to which Chief Nelson implied not.

“We contacted them [Edmonds School District] that we are in this process of budgeting, because it [SRO] is a person we want to budget for and right now they [Edmonds School District] are not ready for a public resource officer to come into the schools,” Chief Nelson told attendees.

The two teenagers who were killed in the double homicide at Spruce Park in July attended Lynnwood High School. According to law enforcement, the shooting was “gang related”. In a FOX13 interview, Rose Camunas shared that her son Jesus “loves video games, loves ice cream, and wants to play football in school this fall.”

Parks and Recreation Director Sordel informed attendees that his department would do everything possible to prevent another senseless tragedy at Lynnwood Parks.

“After the Spruce Park tragedy I asked what we can do, how can we help our community?” Sordel shared. “We activate certain things when school starts in Cedar Valley. We will be resuming our drop teams, our junior instructor programs… we are also trying to resume our night waves at the recreation center.

According to Director Sordel, approximately 275 young adults are employed and/or volunteers at the Lynnwood Recreation Center.

“We recognize that teenagers are at higher risk in middle school and high school, so we’re focusing on them,” Principal Sordel said.

Judge Bouffiou shared that she would like to see a “Law Day” program partnership with the Edmonds School District where each fourth-grade student would participate in a mock trial, be a witness, juror or judge.

(LR) Councilor Julieta Altamirano-Crosby with Judge Valérie Bouffiou and Karina Gasperin during the Parlons de sécurité publique forum held on August 10, 2022.

On another note, to reduce recidivism, Judge Bouffiou also shared the concept of a “problem-solving court” where defendants have access to GED, job training, and behavioral health service providers in court. . The forum was the second in a series hosted by Lynnwood Councilwoman Altamirano-Crosby. She informed the Lynnwood Times that the next event is scheduled for the fall.