Central Oregon school superintendents, fire and police chiefs, sheriffs, district attorneys, and public and mental health leaders gathered on Wednesday, November 15 at the High Desert Education Service District in Redmond to publicly reaffirm their commitment to the region’s Safe Schools Alliance. The group, which meets monthly to strengthen the foundation for the prevention of youth violence and the healthy development of children and families, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to continue and grow their community and interagency partnerships. 

“When kids feel safe at school, they are better able to learn, and we know schools can’t do this critical work alone,” said Jim Boen, regional director of mental and behavioral health for HDESD and a former teacher, school counselor and administrator. “This multi-agency partnership continues to strengthen our efforts to provide safe and secure school environments.”

According to Boen, the multi-agency partnership was established in 1998 following the deadly on-campus attack at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon. As a result of that tragedy, Deschutes County formed CRASH (Crime Reduction at School Houses). Not long after, the name was changed to Safe Schools Alliance and partner agencies were expanded to include Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties. The local tri-county alliance to enhance safety within school environments, protect students and teachers and provide immediate accountability for crimes committed at schools was one of the first collaborations of police, fire, mental health, district attorneys and schools of its kind in the country, and quickly become a model for excellence in collaboration and communication among partner agencies that work together to improve school safety in the United States.

Today, SSA members work together to enhance safety training, facility reviews, positive school climate efforts and more. Safe Schools Alliance members meet monthly during the school year to discuss a wide range of issues, including substance use/abuse, sex trafficking, preventative facility safety, and the review of protocols for responding to school violence.

Agencies attending the Safe Schools Alliance MOU signing event include:

Bend Fire and Rescue
Bend Police Department
Bend-La Pine Schools
Black Butte Ranch Police Department
Cascades Academy
Crook County District Attorney
Crook County Fire and Rescue
Crook County Juvenile Justice
Crook County Sheriff’s Office
Crook County School District
Culver School District
Department of Human Services-Child Welfare
(Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties)
Deschutes County Behavioral Health
Deschutes County District Attorney
Deschutes County Juvenile Justice
Deschutes County Health Services
Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office
High Desert Education Service District
Jefferson County Education Service District
Jefferson County District Attorney
Jefferson Fire District
Jefferson County Juvenile Justice
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office
Jefferson County School District
La Pine Rural Fire Protection District
Prineville Police Department
Redmond Fire and Rescue
Redmond Police Department
Redmond School District
Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District
Sisters School District
St. Francis School
Sunriver Fire Department
Sunriver Police Department
Trinity Lutheran School