The School Resource Officer (or SRO) was developed in Tucson, Arizona in 1963 and is a position that has existed in the Maquoketa Police Department since 1999. In 2005 and 2006 the position was not filled and there was not a police officer in our schools. The program was renewed in 2007 and is under contract on a year by year basis. More than 85% of school districts in the United States have a SRO program in place.
The primary focus of the SRO is to provide advanced services to our school children and build a positive rapport with the kids. By having an officer in our schools we are able to offer another resource for the school district, teachers, students, and parents to bridge the gap between Law Enforcement and our youth.
The SRO focuses on three main facets on a daily basis, law enforcement, informal counselor, and guest speaker. The certified law enforcement officer acts in both a preventative and responsive capacity as he/she would if on the street by investigating crimes, being a visual deterrent, being a positive role model and by acting as a liaison between the school and police communities. In the role of informal counselor, the officer is able to make contact with resources outside the school and offer those services to the students and faculty. The officer also assists kids with problem solving and decision making techniques, showing other options and ways to resolve conflicts in a positive and healthy way rather than resorting to violence or other negative methods. Lastly, as a guest speaker, the officer will go into classrooms at the teachers’ request, and discuss any variety of topics that may be part of that class curriculum.
All in all, the program has been a fantastic success across the nation and an innovative service that has been provided to our students, faculty, parents and community.