The Value of School Resource Officers

Today in Security: The Value of School Resource Officers

​Wednesday, January 9, was National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, and schools around the nation participated with tributes to their school resource officers (SROs).

School Resource Officer Lawrence White works for Hillsborough County Schools in the Tampa, Florida area. He travels from school to school rapping to students about tolerance, kindness, and the evils of bullying, reports WFTS News. In Eastern Kentucky, a photo of School Resource Officer Shawn White eating breakfast with a student goes viral, according to WYMT News. In Indiana, former school resource officer Ginnie Wing and her husband adopt a 24-year-old woman Wing befriended when in elementary school, reports the Indianapolis Star.

These are just a few items about school resource officers (SROs) disseminated by news outlets in recent weeks. SROs are being introduced to some school districts and increased in others following the highly publicized school shootings over the last few years.

Last year, the St. Lucie School District and Sheriff's Office in Florida created a new way to track threats on local school campuses, according to WPBF News. At a news conference Friday, the school district said it received more than 130 threats this semester alone. Sheriff Ken Mascara said that hundreds of incidents had occurred in just the first 90 days of school across the district's 38 campuses. Deputies responded to 100 Baker Act cases, more than 130 school threats, and at least two bomb threats resulting in at least 64 arrests. Officials established a consistent response protocol for the whole county and went from 26 to 53 deputies "almost overnight."

While their mission is to protect the people in the schools, many SROs find that befriending students is one of the best ways to learn about threats and secure the schools.

Read more about SROs in "Resourceful Relationships" in the current issue of Security Management and check out Standards and Best Practices for School Resource Officer Programs, published by the National Association of School Resource Officers.