LYNNWOOD — A police officer soon will walk school hallways in Lynnwood again. He’ll offer a listening ear to students.
The school resource officer position was cut years ago, a result of the Great Recession. The Edmonds School District, which serves Lynnwood, has been trying to resurrect the program ever since. It is the only local district of its size without an officer, said Greg Schwab, assistant superintendent of middle and high schools.
A Lynnwood police officer named Jacob Hubby is expected to join students at Meadowdale High School after the first of the year. His work also might take him to elementary and middle schools in town.
A school resource officer serves as a first line of defense protecting a safe learning environment. For Hubby, the job goes beyond that. He hopes to advocate for students as they navigate young adulthood and make plans for the future.
Sgt. Cole Langdon said Hubby is a good fit for the job because of “what he brings to the table as an officer, person and a father.”
Hubby, a father of three, said he has been thrown into the world of teenagers. He finds a common connection with young people through sports.
He coaches football and wrestling. His daughter, 15, was the first girl on Glacier Peak High School’s wrestling team. She won third in state last year. Hubby also is involved with a football program in Everett. His 12-year-old son plays in the league. Kids from both sides of I-5 can participate, regardless of which school they attend.
“My son met kids from all neighborhoods in Everett who don’t look like him or live like him. That’s important,” Hubby said.
He considers the football league a family. They watch out for each other.
Halfway through the season, Hubby learned that one of the young athletes was basically homeless and living in a hotel. The coaches made sure he wasn’t without socks and a mouthpiece, and understood when he occasionally was late to practice.
Hubby sees value in listening, recognizing that everyone deals with different struggles.
As an officer, he has met teens who aren’t fond of police. Hubby hears them out. Maybe they have a good reason, he said.
Even Hubby has had a poor experience with police. That happened before he went into law enforcement himself. An officer who is having a bad day could change someone’s perception of police for a lifetime, he said.
He hopes to show students that police are there to help.
That might mean talking with teens about drugs and how Hubby has seen addiction ruin lives. It also might mean guiding students toward the right path for them after graduation.
Not everyone has someone in their life to say, “’Hey, you’re good at this,’” Hubby said. He will help students identify their strengths and set goals. He understands there isn’t one path that fits everyone.
When Hubby graduated from high school, he wanted to see the world. He enlisted in the Marine Corps. He later worked in construction until the recession dried up job opportunities. That’s when he became a police officer.
Former school resource officers in Lynnwood told Hubby they have run into students a decade after they graduate. They get to hear about the life those students built.
“(Students) get to know SROs as people rather than police officers,” Schwab said. “I think any time you can do that, it’s going to help out in the community as well as our schools.”
Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192; firstname.lastname@example.org