What is a School Resource Officer (SRO)?
Among the Montpelier Police Department’s (MPD) highest priorities is the safety of our students, educators and their staff. We provide that safety by assigning a School Resource Officer (SRO). SROs are not disciplinarians and do not take the place of counselors, nor can counselors assume the role of an SRO. National trends have shown increases in threats and disruption to students and staff through the outlets of social media platforms and other electronic means, and acts of criminality and violence such as drug use in and around schools, domestic violence and school shootings have also become an unfortunate reality. These are situations that require law enforcement and the SRO. MPD has long adopted best practice policies and training as endorsed by the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO). More information on NASRO can be found here: https://www.nasro.org/ .
MPD has had an SRO program for over 20 years, and during this time its SROs have focused on helping families and children navigate through difficult and deeply personal crises. Our SROs exercise sensitivity and use restorative justice practices when responding to situations that mandate (by law) law enforcement intervention. Our philosophy has always been to apply a full-court holistic approach and partner with the numerous agencies and stakeholders that respond to crisis and crime that affect children: counselors and teachers need a highly-trained direct contact and familiar face from us.
What An SRO is:
- Assists in investigating/facilitating matters of a crime as they relate to the school (vandalism, theft, drugs, etc.)
- Assists (and responds) in providing crisis planning for active shooter or other critical safety incidents
- Serves school staff in required mandated reporting
- A resource for students and parents with deeply personal questions regarding crime they may be experiencing
- Facilitates in the sharing of information between law enforcement and external partners as they relate to criminal crisis issues students experience
- Provides external resources and warm hand-offs for families and children in need
- Teaching de-escalation and encouraging restorative justice practices and programs
- Provides information and education on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse to students and staff
- Assists in providing traffic control
- Becoming a positive role model in our communities to show people that police are a source to help
- Facilitate the discussions about police, race and social and economic injustice needed for systemic change
What An SRO isn’t:
- Not involved in disciplinary decisions regarding student behavior. SROs cannot expel, suspend or discipline children or staff in anyway
- SROs are not tasked or expected to do proactive patrols so to arrest students and staff on campus
- SROs do not promote racism nor act as bullies or intimidators. SRO’s must have the patience, knowledge, experience and demeanor necessary to work with the most sacred of any community: children
SROs are trained in the following:
Foundations of School-Based Law Enforcement, Ethics and the SRO, the SRO as a teacher/guest speaker, Effective presentations, Understanding special needs students, the SRO as an Informal Counselor/Mentor, Social Media and Cyber Security, Understanding the teen brain, Violence and victimization: Challenges to Development, Sex Trafficking of Youth, School Law, Developing and Supporting Successful Relationships with Diverse Students, Effects of Youth Trends and Drugs on the School Culture and Environment, Threat Response: Preventing Violence in School Settings, School Safety and Emergency Operations Plans, and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.
SROs will also receive additional training in: Team 2 Mental Health training, Crisis Intervention Team Training (CIT), LGBTQ+, De-escalation and Conflict resolution, Child and Adolescent cognitive development, drugs, Sexual assault, Domestic violence, the Effects of domestic violence on youth, and Suicide awareness and prevention.
If you have questions or want to further discuss SROs and policing in general, please contact Police Chief Brian Peete at (802) 223-3445. We understand these conversations are critical, it is important everyone has the correct information about this topic. MPD wants to continue to hold itself answerable as we all transition to a place of healing and acceptance.