A School Resource Officer (SRO) program places law enforcement officers in schools with the goal of creating and maintaining safe, secure and orderly learning environments for students, teachers and staff. With such a program, the officer represents much more than "the cop in the shop." An SRO program reflects a community's desire to ensure that its schools are safe, secure and orderly. SROs represent a proactive strategy designed to bring prevention and intervention into the schools.

What School Resource Officers (SROs) Are

SROs are valuable resources for their schools. They are trained to fulfill three roles: they first and foremost are law enforcement officers whose primary purpose is to "keep the peace" in their schools so that students can learn and teachers can teach; secondly, they are law-related counselors who provide guidance on law-related issues to students and act as a link to support services both inside and outside the school environment; and thirdly, they are law-related education teachers who provide schools with an additional educational resource by sharing their expertise in the classroom.

Beyond these identified roles and, perhaps most importantly, SROs are positive role models for many students who are not exposed to such role models in today's society. Their presence in the schools sends a strong message that violence is not acceptable.

How SRO Programs Are Conducted

School systems and law enforcement agencies typically work collaboratively to carry out SRO programs. On a daily basis, the program depends on the working relationships that exist between the SROs and school principals. By sharing a common vision that schools must be safe and secure for learning to take place, the SROs and principals become members of a team united in ensuring that learning environments are free of fear and conducive to learning.

The Promise of an SRO Program

An SRO program is a promising strategy because it enables communities and schools to address school violence with both prevention and intervention techniques. Having an SRO on a school campus can prevent problems from happening. It can enhance a school's capacity to address its safety and security concerns. When problems do arise, SROs can intervene quickly to address what is taking place. SROs can contribute to safe school planning efforts and offer their schools a resource to turn to when emergencies occur. Ultimately, the presence of an SRO assists in making the school safer and more secure for students, teachers and staff. The entire community benefits as well because learning is more likely to take place in such an environment.