POLICE Magazine Supplements

Special Report 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/977262

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Page 3 of 19

4 SPECIAL REPORT: KEEPING SCHOOLS SAFE S ince the Feb. 14 Park- land, FL, high school shooting, you can't go a day without hearing about a school resource officer (SRO) program. Some find the concept of assigning an armed law enforcement officer to a public school repugnant, but the majority of Americans support SRO programs and many K-12 public schools now have officers on campus. What makes an SRO program success- ful? In my experience as a police chief, the bottom line answer is relationships. success. is alone is a big reach across the aisles, with two very different envi- ronments—education and law enforce- ment—working in sync. Against All Hazards I can't explore all of the varieties of SRO programs in this article, but one that is successful and has best overall returns for all is the "All Hazards Approach" to school safety and security. If there is any reluctance from any of the stakeholders, this is the best way to gain buy-in. When most people think of an SRO program today, they think about re- sponse to an active shooter event. Yes, this is a focus, but the reality is there are many more issues that an SRO program should address. e inclusiveness of overall school safety will help you gain buy-in from naysayers and assure the supporters of this program's value. Your SRO will probably author the response plans and be the primary first responder when a natural emergency or event may happen. Tornados, flooding, and hurricanes come to mind. However, localized problems such as snow events, severe storms, and the like will be your primary concern. Just the training and planning for the transportation issues during these events will be a constant. e all hazards approach also encom- passes police support for planned events such as sporting events, plays, and school activities. is makes an SRO program more attractive to school administrators. SRO Selection e relationship between police lead- ership and school leadership must be constant and consistent in purpose. e reality statement here is that the SRO is a sworn law enforcement officer who Years ago when "community policing" first became a buzz word, the schools were often excluded, nearly passed over. Now it is time for their inclusion. SRO programs are not just about defending the schools from active shooters; they also provide positive interaction be- tween police and youth and between po- lice and education administrators. ere is a saying in emergency ser- vices that responding to the scene of an emergency is not the time for introduc- tions and exchanging business cards. Pre-existing relationships between all the stakeholders is the foundation for PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES Building Police-School Relationships To be effective, cooperation between police and schools needs to include a school resource officer program and communication at all levels. William L. "Bill" Harvey

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