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Comparison of Program Activities and Lessons Learned Among 19 School Resource Officer (SRO) Programs

NCJ Number
209272
Date Published
February 2005
Length
107 pages
Author(s)
Peter Finn; Michael Shively; Jack McDevitt; William Lassiter; Tom Rich
Agencies
NIJ-Sponsored
Annotation
As part of the larger National Assessment of School Resource Officer (SRO) Programs, this report addresses similarities and differences among 19 SRO sites on 7 issues.
Abstract
The seven issues were choosing a program model, defining specific SRO roles and responsibilities, recruiting SRO's, training and supervising SRO's, collaborating with school administrators and teachers, working with students and parents, and evaluating SRO programs. In the basic "triad" model, SRO's enforce the law, teach, and mentor. Most of the 19 programs reflected this model; however, the level of emphasis that SRO's gave to each of these roles varied considerably across and within programs. When SRO programs did not define the SRO's roles and responsibilities before duties were assumed, problems inevitably arose in program implementation. This report offers suggestions for developing a detailed SRO job description. Regarding the recruiting of SRO's, careful screening of applicants is necessary to ensure that SRO's are well qualified in temperament and skills to be SRO's. Few of the 19 programs trained all their SRO's before they assumed their duties. Most SRO's and school administrators support training principals and assistant principals along with SRO's in a team concept of training. Most programs failed to provide consistent or close supervision of the SROs' work. Supervision is important in ensuring that SRO's are working to their full potential and are not experiencing unreported problems. Perhaps the single most problematic area for most programs was establishing a productive working relationship between SRO's and school administrators, largely because of different professional cultures. It is also important for SRO's to gain the support of teachers if they are to be invited to teach their classes. Support from students and parents is also essential for program success. 1 table and 1 figure

Date Created: April 7, 2005