Role of the School Resource Officer position
The School Resource Officer in Vermilion Local Schools provides a wide array of services. The three most typical roles of the SRO position are safety expert and law enforcer, problem solver and liaison to community resources, and educator.
As a sworn police officer, the SRO plays a unique role in preserving order on campus by:
- Assuming primary responsibility for handling calls for service from the school and in coordinating the response of other police resources
- Addressing crime and disorder problems, gangs, and drug activities occurring in or around the school
- Making arrests and issuing citations on school campus
- Providing leads and information to the appropriate investigative units
- Taking action against unauthorized persons on school property
- Serving as hall monitor, truancy enforcer and crossing guard
- Responding to off-campus criminal mischief that involves students
- Serving as a liaison between the school and the police and providing information to students and school personnel about law enforcement matters.
Beyond serving in a crime prevention and response role, the SRO is likely to serve as the first responder in the event of a critical incident at the schools, such as accidents, fires, explosions, and other life threatening events. In addition, the SRO often supports advance planning for managing crises, including assisting with:
- Developing incident response systems
- Developing and coordinating emergency response plans (with other emergency responders)
- Incorporating law enforcement onto school crisis management teams
- Developing protocols for handling specific types of emergencies
- Rehearsing these protocols using tabletop exercises, drills, and mock evacuations and lockdowns.
Problem Solver and Liaison to Community Resources
Problem solving involves coordinated efforts among administrators, teachers, students, parents, and mental health professionals. The SRO assists in resolving problems that are not necessarily law violations, such as bullying or disorderly behavior, but are safety issues that can contribute to criminal incidents. Helping to resolve these problems requires the officer to act as a resource liaison, referring students to professional services in the school (guidance counselors, social workers) and the community (youth and family service organizations). The SRO often builds relationships with juvenile justice counselors, who are responsible for supervising delinquent youths, connecting them with needed services, and recommending diversionary activities.
Problem-solving activities include:
- Developing crime prevention efforts for students
- Developing community justice initiatives for students
- Assisting in identifying environmental changes that can reduce crime in or around schools
- Assisting in developing school policies that address crime and recommending procedural changes to implement those policies.
The SRO can serve as a resource for classroom presentations by emphasizing responsible citizenship, as well as teaching topics related to policing. The SRO can present courses for students, faculty, and parents. Topics commonly covered by the SRO include:
- Policing as a career
- Criminal investigation
- Alcohol and drug awareness
- Gang and stranger awareness
- General crime prevention
- Conflict resolution
- Restorative justice
- Babysitting safety
- Bicycling, pedestrian, and motor vehicle safety
- Special crimes in which students are especially likely to be offenders or victims, such as vandalism, shoplifting, and sexual assault by acquaintances.
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