School Resource Officer Section
The Role of an SRO
A SRO has a diverse role is the school community and has many duties and responsibilities. A School Resource Officer is a sworn officer assigned to a school to perform three major roles: (1) law enforcement officer, (2) law-related counselor and (3) law-related educator. In addition, the officer works in collaboration with the school and the community as a resource for safety and security issues.
- As a law enforcement officer, the school becomes the officer’s beat. The SRO assists the school administration in maintaining a safe and secure environment. School administrators benefit from the SRO’s training, knowledge and experience is handling situations involving possible weapons violations or in the identification of controlled dangerous substances. The SRO provides a highly visible presence to deter or identify trespassers on campus. In addition, SRO’s provide a service to the surrounding community by addressing concerns such as loitering, speeding or loud car radios. The students when going to or from school often generate these types of community complaints. SRO’s are responsible for investigating violations of criminal law (such as fights, thefts, bullying, etc.) and when appropriate, make arrests. A SRO’s sworn duty to enforce the law does not contradict the need for the SRO to be positive role model — it in fact supports it. It is essential for a SRO to endorse high moral standards and use good judgment and discretion. Through this, students learn and understand what a professional law enforcement officer does. It is important to note that SRO’s are not school disciplinarians. SRO’s should not be involved in investigating school rule violations: For example, a student cheating on a test. Violations of school rules are the responsibility of the principal and faculty. If a violation of a school rule is also a criminal offense the SRO can conduct a concurrent investigation and take the appropriate action under the policies and procedures set forth by the Sheriff’s Office.
- The role of law-related counselor is not unfamiliar to a School Resource Officer. A sheriff’s deputy conducts street level law related counseling on a regular basis. For example, a victim of domestic violence is given information on how to obtain a protective order, or an officer may attempt to mediate a dispute between two neighbors. Officers are frequently called upon to help resolve problems that are not necessarily criminal matters. Similarly, guidance counselors will call upon the SRO to assist in conflict mediation efforts. Parents may seek information from the SRO if they suspect their child may be experimenting with drugs or alcohol. Students will ask the SRO for advice concerning a recent traffic ticket. Many times students will just want someone to talk to about problems that they are experiencing, and the SRO is another caring adult in the school building who works to find positive solutions for young people.
- School Resource Officers have contact with majority of students in school. The SRO’s serve as a resource for educators in sharing their experience and expertise as a law-related educator when they are invited into the classroom as guest speakers. Classroom presentations by a SRO compliment the schools’ curriculum, as well as giving the SRO the opportunity to interact with students and discuss law-related issues. The contact that the SRO has with students in the classroom is a positive learning experience. Law-related education is designed to promote responsible citizenship and give the student a better understanding of how our legal system works. As a Sheriff’s deputy the SRO offers the student real life examples of how the criminal justice system operates. The SRO brings their experience into the classroom in order to educate the student on the role of law enforcement in a free society. SRO’s support school wide efforts to educate students on the consequences of unacceptable behavior both in school and in the community. In addition, the SRO works to educate students in crime prevention and personal safety.