A School Resource Officer (SRO) is a certified police officer who is assigned full-time to a school. For this, SRO's receive many hours of ongoing specialized training. The concept is similar to the "cop on foot patrol" who knows the public he serves on a first name basis and is sensitive to their particular needs.
Like many adults, some students view police officers solely as enforcers of the laws. By establishing a daily rapport with their school's SRO, students will not only gain positive role models, but also a better understanding of police officers' many other duties and responsibilities.
Likewise, SRO's will gain a better perspective of the youngsters in their schools. By carefully assessing the needs of individual students, SRO's will be more aware of the development of unhealthy or destructive behavioral patterns. Through early intervention it is possible, in many cases, to redirect negative behaviors before they cause a student to be referred to the Criminal Justice System.
The SRO Program was first implemented in Flint, Michigan, in 1951. Since the program's inception, it has successfully been put into practice in 35 states. Sheriff Truman Jones started the SRO Program in Rutherford County in 1993 with five officers in five schools. There are currently 40 officers working in 41 schools helping to assure students safety and education.
The involvement of SRO's extends far beyond the classroom and the normal workday. Officers participate in parent-teacher and faculty meetings, student social and sporting events, and club projects. The presence of SRO's tends to strengthen the student/police bonds and shows the officers' commitment to the students and their education and safety.