School Resource Officer (SRO)
Our School Resource Officer (SRO) was carefully selected, specifically trained, and is a properly equipped full-time law enforcement officer with sworn law enforcement authority. He is trained by the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) in school-based law enforcement and crisis intervention response (CIT), assigned by the Patton Township Police Department (PTPD) to work in the State College Area School District (SCASD) using community-oriented policing concepts.
Our SRO has completed and is certified through NASRO in both Basic and Advanced SRO Training and Adolescent Mental Health Training. He continues to attend School Safety Conferences to stay current in areas such as School Violence, Lessons Learned, Active Shooter, Threat and Risk Assessment, Suicide Prevention, Community Violence, Responding to students in crisis, Cultural Diversity/Competence, Implicit Bias, Conflict De-escalation/Resolution, and Community Oriented Policing.
The goal of the PTPD SRO program includes providing a safe learning environment within the SCASD, providing valuable resources to school staff members, fostering positive relationships with youth, developing strategies to resolve problems affecting youth and protecting all students, so that they can reach their fullest potentials. We use a “triad concept” to define the three main roles of school resource officers: Educator (i.e., guest lecturer), informal counselor/mentor, and law enforcement officer.
The SRO follows NASRO’s best practices. SRO’s do not arrest or get involved with students for disciplinary issues that would have otherwise been handled by teachers and/or administrators if the SROs were not in use. The SRO does not enforce school rules and behavioral expectations, instead educators handle classroom management and school disciplinary situations.
On the contrary, SROs help and try to mentor students to avoid involvement with the juvenile justice system. SRO’s work to divert students to community resources, intervention programs, and alternatives in community justice. In fact, wide acceptance of NASRO best practices is one reason that the rates of juvenile arrests throughout the United States fell during a period when the proliferation of SROs increased (see To Protect and Educate: The School Resource Officer and the Prevention of Violence in Schools).
Here is a link to Frequently Asked Questions about School Resource Officers on the NASRO website.