Position Statement on School-Based Policing
This is an interesting time to be an SRO. Following a few very well-publicized incidents, school-based policing has been in the national media spotlight. This increased attention has led some to ask OSROA about the role of the SRO and whether or not SRO’s are contributing to what has become known as the “School-to-Prison Pipeline.”
It is OSROA’s position that…
- An SRO should be carefully selected from among qualified and experienced officers.
- An SRO should receive specialized training. Policing our schools is different than policing our streets. OSROA supports our parent organization, the National Association of School Resource Officers, and we encourage Oregon law enforcement agencies to utilize NASRO’s Basic SRO Course.
- An SRO must understand the difference between school discipline issues and law enforcement issues. Breaking a school rule is not the same as breaking the law, and while SRO’s are often called upon to assist school staff with uncooperative students, the SRO must know his/her role and make sure to allow school administrators to do their jobs.
- An SRO contributes to the safe schools team by ensuring a safe and secure campus, educating students about law-related topics, and mentoring students as counselors and role models. OSROA endorses NASRO’s “Triad Model of SRO responsibility: educator, informal counselor, and law enforcer.”
- Law Enforcement agencies and school districts must work together closely. This collaboration should include a clear and concise MOU. Instructions for creating a well-written MOU are available here. If you would like a sample MOU please contact us and we can provide one.
Finally, OSROA rejects the idea that school-based policing contributes to a “school-to-prison pipeline.” NASRO has published a response to this ongoing debate called, “To Protect and Educate: The School Resource Officer and the Prevention of Violence in Schools.” The Department of Justice data on page 9 of this document supports our position.
It takes a special person to be a law enforcement officer and it takes a special officer to be a School Resource Officer. OSROA and our SRO’s endeavor to bridge the gap between law enforcement and youth, and we work hard to build relationships and foster a positive attitude towards law enforcement. Cops become SRO’s because they want to see less of our kids end up in the system – not more – and we labor daily in pursuit of this goal.