Roles of the School Resource Officer (SRO):
- When assigned as a school resource officer, the officer becomes the wearer of many hats, including a law enforcement officer, a law-related educator, and a law-related counselor.
- Often times, the SRO must transition through these roles daily to serve the needs of students, school staff, and the surrounding community.
- The SRO is in a school full-time to provide a variety of support programs and services to students, parents, and school staff.
- The overall goals are to maintain a safe and secure learning environment on the school campus, influence the development of positive attitudes by youth towards law enforcement, and to reduce juvenile crime through the use of intervention strategies, proactive policing, and networking.
Law Enforcement Officer:
The #1 goal of the SRO is to maintain a safe and secure learning environment conducive to education. The SRO will also suggest ways to improve school safety/security. The SRO attempts to prevent criminal activities and disturbances at the school and reacts professionally when criminal situations arise. Mere presence of SRO can prevent/deter criminal activity.
The SRO investigates most crimes on school campus. These include: disturbing school, drug/weapon offenses, gang incidents, trespassing, assault, and many times will assist in incorrigible and truancy cases.
The SRO develops positive supporting relationships with students. A tremendous benefit of working within the same school continually is that the officer has the opportunity to know the individual students and their particular needs. The SRO strives to become an integral part of the educational process.
The SRO will find many subject areas in which law-related education can be incorporated. An SRO is trained in the law and has a unique perspective when translating that experience into the classroom. Almost all of law enforcement training can be directly applied to classroom subjects.
SROs can teach in many areas including: conflict resolution, juvenile law, constitutional law, bullying, internet safety, alcohol & drug awareness, crime scene science, forensics, health/fitness, D.A.R.E., G.R.E.A.T., and Alive at 25.
As a counselor, the SRO serves as a resource to the students, parents, and school faculty. Students will often approach SROs with personal, educational, family, or law-related problems. By networking and developing response checklists, the SRO is prepared to refer persons in need to appropriate agencies that can assist them. This is probably the most complex and involved aspect of the SRO’s assignment.
SROs are also involved in many mentoring programs at school.
Counseling issues cover a variety of topics including: bullying, conflict, resolution, gang involvement, incorrigibility, truancy, and other issues at home.