- Sumner-Bonney Lake School District
Welcome Officer Watson and Officer Wolschleger!
In an effort to maintain safe environments in schools, the District has formalized a School Resource Officer program with the City of Bonney Lake and the City of Sumner. The partnership re-establishes a dedicated School Resource Officer (SRO) at those schools within Bonney Lake and Sumner city limits.
The responsibilities of SROs are similar to regular police officers in that they have the ability to make arrests, respond to calls for service, and document incidents that occur within their jurisdiction. However, beyond law enforcement, SROs also serve as educators, emergency managers, and informal counselors.
Sumner Police Officer Matt Watson is the new School Resource Officer (SRO) for our schools in Sumner, serving Sumner High School, Sumner Middle School, Daffodil Valley Elementary, Maple Lawn Elementary and the new Sumner Early Learning Center.
Watson has worked in a variety of roles during his 17 years with the Sumner Police Department, including a two-year stint as SRO from 2004 to 2006, a member of the Metro SWAT team, and most recently as the department’s firearms instructor.
When asked how he goes about fostering positive relationships with students, Watson believes it starts with being yourself.
“As a police officer, it’s important to get kids to realize that I’m just a normal guy when I’m not in this uniform, and if I can do that, positive relationships will come much more naturally,” Watson said. “Kids are smart and they can immediately see if you aren’t being your true self. In being personable with students, I like to share stories about my weekend or a sports game, for example.”
While he wears a police uniform at work, the uniform doesn’t define him. Watson points out that he’s the same person both on and off duty, showing respect toward others regardless of different backgrounds or opinions.
Born and raised in Olympia, Watson has two children: Connor, 14, and Payton, 9. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, hunting, camping, boating and hiking. Once an avid softball player, he’s now a spectator at his kids’ baseball and fastpitch games.
Bonney Lake Police Officer Daron Wolschleger is back as the School Resource Officer (SRO) for our schools in Bonney Lake, serving Bonney Lake High School, Lakeridge Middle School, Mountain View Middle School, Bonney Lake Elementary, Emerald Hills Elementary and Victor Falls Elementary.
With the Bonney Lake Police Department since 2003, Wolschleger has sporadically served as SRO since the 2009-10 school year.
“I’m excited to be back in the schools to create positive interactions with students,” Wolschleger said. “I make a deliberate point of making myself visible at lunch and in hallways, showing kids that police officers are friendly and can be trusted. My hope is to build relationships with students so they might respect authority while learning that not all interaction with law enforcement is negative.”
A familiar face over the last 10 years, Wolschleger has developed strong relationships with staff and students. In addition to his role as SRO, he leads Districtwide water safety assemblies delivering the SwimSafe message with East Pierce Fire & Rescue.
Originally from Enumclaw, Wolschleger lives in the Bonney Lake area with his family and enjoys music in his spare time.
Partnering with local police departments helps build positive relationships between law enforcement and youth in the community. SROs, sworn law enforcement officers responsible for monitoring building and student safety, work closely with school administrators in an effort to create a safer environment.
"Student and staff safety continues to be our top priority," said Bill Gaines, Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Community Engagement. "The presence of Officer Wolschleger and Officer Watson in our schools strengthens the critical safety measures necessary to create effective learning environments, while also enhancing the valuable partnership between the District and local law enforcement."
Rounding out safety efforts at all secondary schools are five District-employed Campus Safety Officers (CSOs), whose primary role is to be proactive and build relationships with students and staff. They’re also trained to de-escalate situations with the purpose of protecting students and adults. If a situation warrants police involvement, they are prepared to intervene until the police arrive, augmenting the presence of School Resource Officers.
For more information about our ongoing safety efforts, visit www.sumnersd.org/safety.
For schools located outside Bonney Lake and Sumner city limits, the District is currently in discussion with Pierce County Sheriff to include in the SRO program.