Serving Franklin County, WA

Deputies to set up in Lind Middle School

Sheriff: Officers will be more efficient

LIND — Adams County Sheriff Dale Wagner is working with school officials to carve out office space at the Lind Middle School for his deputies.

He’s aiming for a similar arrangement with the Washtucna School District.

Various programs have attempted to reduce crime and increase law enforcement effectiveness in public schools. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program and School Resource Officers are two examples.

But neither program is inexpensive and neither provides a one-size-fits-all solution for every community, the sheriff said.

Such considerations led Wagner to ponder new ways of increasing police involvement at local schools — without breaking the county budget.

“I re-examined our options,” he said. “Most of our service calls come from the Lind area. As a result, our deputies already do most of their work at that location.

“Since Ritzville has its own Police Department, the need there isn’t as urgent. Obviously, we work with local police but our focus is on other locations throughout the county.”

According to Wagner, providing office space in the middle school for his deputies — giving them a place where they can write reports and perform other duties — should enable his staff to stay in the Lind area more often.

“Sometimes our deputies leave Lind, head to the sheriff’s office in Ritzville, and immediately get called back to Lind,” he said. “That’s inefficient.”

He said a close-at-hand officer can address threats or hazardous circumstances more quickly than law enforcement personnel several miles away.

Lind-Ritzville School District Superintendent Don Vanderholm agreed.

“We’re very excited to have this partnership with the Sheriff’s Office,” Vanderholm said. “Maintaining a law enforcement presence in the school should be very positive.”

According to Wagner, deputies may not stay onsite every day or remain for several hours a day.

“Nevertheless, this arrangement should enable us handle service calls more efficiently and may help to deter criminal activity,” he said.

 

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