District welcomes new school resource officer on board

Whether it’s a serious or humorous discussion on students’ minds, Mercer Island Police Department’s new school resource officer (SRO) Foster Barragan is on campus to connect with kids.

Barragan recently described his job to the school community on a video that was posted on the Mercer Island School District Facebook page.

He’ll be hanging out with Mercer Island High School and Islander Middle School students to build a bridge between the police department and the schools and answer any policing questions and provide resources along the way, said Barragan, who is uniformed and also represents the department at the Crest Learning Center.

Barragan added that if students “need to talk to somebody about anything that’s going on at home, I’m there for you.” If students wish to lay their best dad joke on Barragan, he’d love to hear them, he noted with a smile.

Created by the police department in 1996, SROs are liaisons between the school district security officer and the police department, and have also instructed classes on law enforcement-related topics such as laws regarding search and seizure, driving under the influence, minor in possession of alcohol and more, according to the city’s website.


While perusing the city’s 2023-2024 preliminary biennial budget at council’s Oct. 3 meeting, the topic of the voluntary disposal process of unwanted firearms and ammunition entered into the discussion.

Councilmember Craig Reynolds motioned to add a budget proposal to appropriate $15,000 toward the already-implemented city program. He suggested that the Mercer Island Police Department might look into modeling its program after the one in Kirkland, in which residents receive gift cards in amounts ranging from $25-$250 for turning in a variety of types of guns, according to the city of Kirkland web site. The motion passed and the proposal will be placed on the budget discussion docket for an upcoming council meeting.

The current Mercer Island program doesn’t involve gift cards, according to Chief Ed Holmes, who spoke briefly at the meeting.

“At any time, anybody could bring in guns or ammo that they don’t want or they find in an attic of a loved one who’s passed away. That is sometimes the case, too,” said Holmes, adding that in June, the department posted on social media that it can safely destroy those materials.

Holmes told the Reporter in June that officers typically collect two or three firearms monthly from Island residents for destruction. He added at the meeting that the Island has a low level of gun violence.

To arrange collection with an officer, people can call the department’s dispatch line at 425-577-5656.