Echo Glen makes security changes after teens escape

New measures are being taken at Echo Glen Children’s Center after teens escaped the facility last week. 

On Jan. 26, five teens escaped the facility and a car was stolen. Four of the five teens are in custody and one remains at large. 

On Thursday, the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families announced that new safety changes are being made in response to the incident.

What is Echo Glen Children's Center?

Echo Glen Children's Center is a youth rehabilitation facility in Snoqualmie that serves Washington state's highest-risk youth.

The following actions were taken: 

  • Electric carts have replaced vehicles used by security and health center staff on campus.
  • Uniforms are required for maximum security youth.
  • There has been an increase in security rounds.
  • A single point of entry has been established.
  • Video system replacement is underway.
  • On-campus notification processes have been improved.

"We, like all first responders, need to manage patrol, staffing and other resources so we can effectively serve all constituents in the Snoqualmie Valley. We want your colleagues at Echo Glen to know that while the Sheriff’s Office always seeks to increase discretionary patrols, that can only occur as resource and calls for service allow," said Sergeant Tim Meyer, with the King County Sheriff’s Office. 

A Critical Incident Response Team is determining the root causes, addressing the risks and reviewing the incident. The agency said the root cause analysis is still underway. 

The department also listed some security changes that have been made:

  • Initiation of gate replacement with a secure, cantilevered, sliding, key-card-controlled, video-activated gate. This has been in progress since April 2021, and the expected installation date is Feb. 8. Gates like this are custom fabricated and not available as stock items.
  • A significant upgrade to the training protocol for new employees, including a five-week training academy.
  • Modernization of physical intervention and de-escalation protocol, including staff training in best practices.
  • A deep-dive security audit that has been planned for several months will start this month.

The agency said reviews and administrative investigations are still ongoing and will result in additional recommendations and policy changes.

State-commissioned survey uncovers ongoing safety, staffing problems at youth detention centers

There have been at least four escapes from the Echo Glen Children’s Center in Snoqualmie over the past decade. During that time, concerns about staff safety also increased.

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