What is a school resource officer? A school resource officer, by federal definition, is a career law enforcement officer with sworn authority who is deployed by an employing police department or agency in a community-oriented policing assignment to work in collaboration with one or more schools.
Are school resource officers usually armed? Yes. A school resource officer is a commissioned, sworn law enforcement officer, not a “security guard.” NASRO recommends that all SROs be issued and carry all the same equipment they’d have on any other law enforcement assignment.
What are appropriate roles of school resource officers? The goals of well-founded SRO programs include providing safe learning environments in our nation’s schools, providing valuable resources to school staff members, fostering positive relationships with youth, developing strategies to resolve problems affecting youth and protecting all students, so that they can reach their fullest potentials. NASRO considers it a best practice to use a “triad concept” to define the three main roles of school resource officers: educator (i.e. guest lecturer), informal counselor/mentor, and law enforcement officer.
What evidence exists that school resource officers are valuable? Researchers at Canada’s Carleton University conducted a two-year study of an SRO program. The report lists numerous benefits of the program, including:
- Prevention or minimization of property damage in the school and surrounding areas.
- Prevention of student injuries and even death due to violence, drug overdoses, etc.
- Reduction of the need for schools to call 911.
- Reduction of the likelihood that a student will get a criminal record.
- Increase of the likelihood that students (particularly those with mental health issues) will get the help they need from the social service and health care systems.
- Increase in feelings of safety among students and staff.
How should school resource officers respond to active shooter incidents? NASRO trains school resource officers to move directly to the threat, as quickly as possible and then to neutralize the threat to prevent further injury or loss of life.
- Patrol school campuses and responds to emergency situations on the campus and adjacent areas.
- Prepares detailed reports of findings for use by School Investigators and other law enforcement personnel.
- Detains and/or arrests perpetrators of offenses against school personnel or property when necessary.
- Meets with school principal(s)/administrators on a daily basis.
- Develop good working relationships with school faculty and staff to include assisting with criminal and non-criminal issues at school sites.
- Refer students and their families to the appropriate agencies for assistance when a need is determined.
- Attend meetings of parent groups and faculty-wide in-service sessions when needed.
- Be available for conferences with students, parents and faculty members to assist with problems related to law enforcement and crime prevention.
- Confer with the school administration to develop strategies to prevent or minimize dangerous situations on or near the campus.
- Promote citizen awareness of law enforcement efforts on campus to ensure the peaceful operation of school related programs and build support with students.
- Whenever possible attend school functions or extracurricular school events.
- Originate police reports on any incident of a police nature and follow the existing procedures as required
- Conduct threat assessments Police Department procedures.
- Provide a program of educational leadership to the students, parents and faculty addressing tobacco, alcohol, other drug issues, gang activity, violence diffusion, violence prevention, crime prevention, and safety issues in the school community.
- Act as a communication liaison with law enforcement agencies; provide basic information concerning students on campuses served by the officer.
- Take steps appropriate and consistent with a law enforcement officer's duty when a crime occurs.
- Gather information regarding potential problems such as criminal activity, gang activity, student unrest, and identify particular individuals who may be a disruptive influence to the school and or students.
SRO Contact Info
Degrees and Certifications:
Mahwah Police Officer SRO Certified