The Youth Services Unit is comprised of four School Resource Officers (SROs), a Drug Abuse Resistance Education Officer (D.A.R.E.), and is supervised by Sergeant Ken Lattin.
School Resource Officers
The School Resource Officer (SRO) was developed in partnership with the Kennewick School District and the Kennewick Police Department. The program began the 1994 / 1995 school year. SROs are assigned to Kennewick High School, Kamiakin, High School and Southridge High School.
The primary duty of the SRO is to provide police services to their assigned school and assist with the safety of the students and staff. The SROs are responsible for providing educational instruction to students in areas such as traffic safety and government classes and as a resource to students. The SROs are also available as informal counselors to students who can speak to the SRO about a problem or situation they are dealing with. When requested, SROs also assist at the Middle Schools that are the "feeder schools" to their assigned High School.
- Kamiakin High School SRO Officer Chris Buroker
- Kennewick High School SRO Officer Chris Littrell
- Southridge High School SRO Officer Tony Valdez
Drug Abuse Resistance Education
The D.A.R.E. program was instituted in Kennewick schools in 1988 as a result of the strong partnership between the Kennewick School District and the Kennewick Police Department. One officer assigned to teach D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education). D.A.R.E. is first introduced to our kindergarten students, with follow up in the third grade and the core curriculum is taught to our fifth graders.
Officer Meyer teaches the core classes are taught once a week in a semester during the student's fifth grade year. The 10-week curriculum ends with a culmination ceremony where the students are honored in front of their peers, family, and other members of the community. The focus of D.A.R.E. is to educate students about drugs and their dangers along with giving students skills for refusing drug offers.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has released the 2005 "Monitoring the Future" survey. The proportion of 8th, 10th and 12th grade students who use illicit drugs continues to decline. Over the past four years there has been a 19% decrease in teenage drug use. This is real progress, and although we cannot take complete credit, there is no question that D.A.R.E. is a key component of the efforts made to achieve these results.