Tucked away in our patrol division is a very important niche of law enforcement
members who play a crucial role in our community — the valiant school resource officers who protect the students of Bradley County in our elementary, middle and high schools.
By federal definition, a school resource officer (SRO) is a career law enforcement officer, deployed by a local law enforcement agency with sworn authority to conduct community oriented policing and to work in collaboration with one or more schools.
The goals of a well-rounded SRO program are to ensure safe learning environments in our schools, provide valuable resources to school staff members, foster positive relationships with the community’s youth, develop strategies to resolve problems affecting youth and protect all students, so that they can reach their fullest potentials. The “triad concept” of an SRO’s three main roles are to be an educator, informal counselor/mentor and law enforcement officer.
During their “off-season,” while schools are out for summer and winter break, SROs are hard at work in the patrol, criminal investigations and judicial services divisions. When the time comes for students to return, our SROs work tirelessly to ensure that they are trained and ready to resume their posts in the schools.
For example, this past week, our SROs completed their 40 hours of annual POST
certification, also known as “in-service” training. During this training, they are drilled on how to handle active shooter threats, de-escalate violent encounters, properly oversee the safety of the school property perimeter and other tactics to ensure the security of the students and school staff under their watch.
With COVID-19 in the mix, this upcoming school year will present new responsibilities for our SROs as schools begin to open back up. They will be wearing masks when interacting with the public and students, practicing social distancing, and will be encouraging students to do the same as they lead by example.
This virus has taken a lot from us … and while it has caused us all to grow and think outside of the box in so many ways, it has also cultivated an abundance of uncertainty and fear across the world. As our students begin to return to school, it gives me great peace of mind to know that our impeccable team of SROs will be there for them, ensuring their safety and helping them get through these unprecedented times