The School Resource Officer and the Prevention of Violence in Schools
The presence of school resource officers (SROs) in schools has become an important part of the duty to protect children on campus. Statistically speaking, the effectiveness of school resource officers is firmly established. In America, school crime is down: incidences of school-associated deaths, violence, nonfatal victimizations, and theft have all diminished since local police began partnering with school officials.
Once schools are made safe, the campuses tend to stay safe. Even juvenile arrests decrease, falling nearly 50% during the period of expansion of these programs. Speaking as a practical matter, the presence of local police on campus is essential. The specialized knowledge of the law, local and national crime trends and safety threats, people and places in the community, and the local juvenile-justice system combine to make police critical members of schools’ policy-making teams when it comes to environmental safety planning and facilities management, school-safety policy, and emergency response preparedness.
In order to fully realize the benefits of the presence of local police, the officers must be trained properly. Officers’ law-enforcement knowledge and skill combine with specialized SRO training for their duties in the education setting. SROs should be specifically trained to perform their duties in an educational setting and they must understand the special nature of school campuses. SROs, as a result, possess a skill set unique among both law enforcement and education personnel that enables SROs to protect the community and the campus while supporting the educational mission.
SROs are sworn law enforcement officers who are responsible for providing security and crime prevention services in the American school environment. SROs have the ability to make arrests, respond to calls for service, and document incidents that occur within their jurisdiction. SROs typically have additional duties to include mentoring and conducting presentations on youth-related issues. They play an integral role in the public school system and have had many positive impacts on the students that they are involved with.
Budget reductions have led to cutbacks in many programs around the country. However, there is data to support that the presence of SROs can deter crimes that would otherwise be committed on a school campus. Miami-Dade Schools Police is in the process of hiring additional SROs. Our goal is to have one SROs in every middle and senior high school within our district. Safety of our students is our utmost priority and we will go to any length to achieve our students’ safety.