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UP-CLOSE School Resource Offi cers and the Respectable Kids


Create a safe haven where students can hang out if they want. Don’t forget part of the SRO triad is the teaching component. You have the opportunity to touch impressionable minds; use the opportunity wisely.


cop from the rest of the squad is sure to come. Most of all, this offi cer needs to be able to work well on his/her own. Func- tioning as a police offi cer in a school is an entirely different ballgame than policing the streets. The tasks and responsibili- ties change, but so do the work hours. Although many offi cers might view the SRO assignment as a punishment because of the required contact with the road- side lawyers and drunken partiers, they may become jealous of the perceived benefi ts like working day shifts and having weekends off. We have all different types of personalities within our police agencies. As an administrator, you’ll face some cops who are spoiled, entitled, impulsive and rude. Po- lice offi cers can be just like kids. In some situations, the work hours may serve as an incentive for some offi cers to consider. Of course, some offi cers will just never be satisfi ed and this is not the offi cer to select as your School Resource Offi cer. Who do you want as your SRO? Someone who can relate to


Be accessible to your students. Listen to their stories, maybe even share some of your own. Be an active listener and take genuine interest in the students with whom you speak.


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48 LAW and ORDER I July 2015


kids. Or perhaps even more important, someone to whom the kids can relate. The designated offi cer should at least know “What the Fox Says.” If that left you confused, I suggest you Google the song by Ylvis “What Does the Fox Say?” Your of- fi cer should be young, but not a rookie. The offi cer needs to know how to be a “cop” and how to address a wide variety of situations. This offi cer needs to be able to use discretion and be more reactive as opposed to proactive. An offi cer with school aged children will be an incredible asset. There are certain skills, such as patience and compro- mise, which just cannot be taught in training courses. Some parents know how to talk to children of all ages. Knowing what interests your own children have often translates well to other kids of similar ages. Plus, just knowing the proper language to use makes you more relatable to students. The School Resource Offi cer is not all about interacting with students. This offi cer is a representative of the department, but in a foreign environment, an academic en- vironment. This offi cer should enjoy an academic setting and enhance learning, not undermine it. This professional has to interact with teachers, school administra- tors, and parents. Resolving emotional is- sues such as bullying, sexting, and eating disorders will be common. School admin- istrators may want you to enforce loitering in hallways or improper assigned parking. Keeping the balance between police mat- ters and quality of school life matters can be a diffi cult task, one that an experienced offi cer needs to handle delicately. Probably the most important asset to be possessed by the SRO is overall attitude. Even more so than age, gender, or level of education, attitude is the most powerful tool we possess. We choose how we want


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