How do Student Resource Officers help contribute to security on campus?
Oftentimes, when you walk around on campus, you may see what looks like a police officer around. What’s the story behind having officers on campus?
“It’s really not a differential. It’s just a scale of what I do. I’m pretty much doing almost the same stuff I would do on the street, only I’m at school. There’s more personal contact, but ultimately my goals [are to] ensure safety on campus, enforce laws when they need to be enforced, and be a resource,” says Officer Candler, an officer who works on the AHS campus. “The only difference is you have to know more about certain laws because things are different dealing with kids than adults, so you just have to be well-versed in that.”
Beyond that, there are also a number of things that officers need to adapt to in a high school environment due to the fact that they handle high-schoolers and not adults.
“You probably have to have a little bit more patience than you normally would as a cop, just because you’re dealing with kids who don’t necessarily think about the consequences of their actions. Most adults should know, ‘I do something wrong. This is what’s gonna happen to me.’ Most kids–they have a fleeting idea… but they really don’t realize how bad that is until [they’re] in trouble for it.”
While they provide for students, Student Resource Officers, or SROs, help administrators out a lot as well.
“We create relationships between students and police. It gives [students] more adults that they can trust on campus,” says Mrs. Barrington. “Officer Candler works hard to connect with students that he’s working with and [even] those students that he maybe has really never encountered in a professional sense. Around campus, a lot of students like to come up and chat with him.”
While situations when an SRO has to get involved don’t happen very often, they do occur at times.
“It happens occasionally that our students don’t just mess up and break a school rule; they mess up and break a law. So when students have broken a law in our community, Officer Candler will talk to them here at school,” states Mrs. Barrington.
Overall, even students have positive inputs about having police here at school.
“If something happens where you need to have a police officer there, it’s nice to have one that’s easily accessible, rather than having to call someone who’s far away,” says Raina Kakani (11).
“Although they also do have weapons, I don’t think they’d use it on students,” adds Kakani. “So, having [SROs] on campus does make me feel a lot safer.”
While police officers can seem intimidating, they’re only around to assist administrators and keep students on the right path and make sure they aren’t breaking laws or doing things that could have dire consequences when they become adults.