Nothing is more important in this district than the safety of students, staff and school visitors.
Five Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies currently work as School Resource Officers inside the district, with each deputy responsible for a geographical area that includes several schools.
The primary goal of every School Resource Officer is to keep children safe from harm, but the deputies are also responsible for educating students and staff.
Bethel’s newest SRO is Puyallup resident Luke Shin. Deputy Shin has been with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department for two years, and he joined Bethel’s SRO team in January.
Shin, who was born in South Korea and moved to Pierce County when he was six, spent nearly two decades in the banking industry before becoming a law enforcement officer.
Banking and police work might seem like opposite ends of the career spectrum, but Shin said both require a lot of patience, empathy, and people skills.
“I’ve always had the mentality that you should treat people the way you’d want them to treat your family,” he said. “Maya Angelou said something to the effect of ‘They may not remember what you said, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.’ So my philosophy is to treat people with respect.”
Shin said he requested to become a School Resource Officer because he wanted to be a good example to kids and to show that police officers are here to help, not just to arrest people.
“The rapport that I’ve built with the students, I just love it. They’ll come up to me and give me a high five and say, ‘Hey, Deputy Shin!’ I just left Shining Mountain and a lot of the kids over there will just come over and give me hugs. It’s one of the best feelings,” he said.
Shin is currently responsible for four schools: Bethel High, Bethel Middle, Shining Mountain Elementary, and Cougar Mountain Middle. He will leave the SRO program at the end of the school year and be replaced with another deputy in the fall, but he said he’d love to come back to Bethel someday.
“It’s been truly an honor getting to know the kids,” he said. “And there’s a lot of great kids in Bethel.”