S E A R C H   
The Role of the School Resource Officer

SRO Definition:

High School-Based Community Policing

Every school is different. Each school presents its own challenges. The strength of a School Resource Officer Program is that it is not a cookie-cutter approach to policing. The SRO is a community-oriented police officer with the skills to build relationships, solve problems and enforce the law.The foundation of a SRO program is a police department's commitment to community oriented policing methods. Community oriented policing looks at improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods. An SRO program focuses on the quality of life within the school and the community the school serves. As with other community oriented policing efforts, School Resource Officer programs are proactive, solution-based, and community driven. SROs are assigned to a school community on a long-term basis to provide full police services, including maintaining order on the school campus and reducing the fear of crime within the school community.

A School Resource Officer Program is personalized to the school in which the officer works. The SRO becomes familiar with their schools specific needs as well as being approachable by the students and staff when issues arise. The SRO works with the school administration, staff and students to address situations that may disrupt the schools mission, which includes everything from parking/traffic concerns to criminal offenses occurring on campus. School Resource Officers have the opportunity to educate the school community in crime prevention methods as well as empowering them to help maintain a safe school environment. People who do not understand the School Resource Officer Program believe that the SROs are there just to patrol the halls and arrest students.

One of the core components of community policing is to build partnerships and relationships for the purpose of creating safe school environments. On an individual basis, the SRO can improve the relationship between youth and police one child at a time. A teenager who may be facing difficulties can find the SRO to be a caring adult as well as an example of a professional police officer. On a much larger scale the SRO facilitates a partnership between the police department and the school system. In a crisis situation the SRO has the ability to communicate with school administrators and police officials and understand the needs of both entities.

  Community policing is not "soft on crime"--School Resource Officers investigate crimes and make arrests. SROs are proactive in enforcing the law in order to maintain a safe school environment.

SROs are present in schools because that is where the school community comes together. It is not uncommon for parents to approach the SRO concerning non-school related issues. Staff and faculty members will seek advice from the SROs concerning domestic issues or neighbor complaints. Homeowners near the school may report suspicious activity to the SRO. Business owners may request assistance from the SRO concerning student conduct in their stores. Although the SRO may be assigned to a school with 1500 students, the actual number of citizens the SRO has contact with is almost infinite.

Follow Up Questions

Do you know of incidents where the SRO has proactively engaged the community in problem solving? How did the community respond? How did you respond? Do you use “community policing” problem solving strategies in your school?

Example: The SRO becomes aware of "loitering teens" blocking traffic at a particular intersection. The SRO discovers that a majority of the teens are students, waiting for public transportation at that location. The SRO involves school officials so that they can determine if said students should be using public transportation to and from school. The SRO should meet with public transportation officials to determine if a better location for the bus stop can be located. The SRO provides information to the students on how their conduct may be violating the law. The SRO enforces the appropriate violations of the law.







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SRO Defined
Building a Foundation
Context for Tutorial
Relevant Audiences
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