SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER PROGRAM
1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.
The structure of the program is to devote one individual officer to each secondary school within the City of Olathe. The primary purpose of this structural design is to facilitate the "right to ownership" relationship among the assigned police officer, school staff/administration, students and parents. School Resource Officer’s (SRO’s) have a very diverse role in the school community. They are first and foremost police officers and are expected to fill that traditional role on campus. In addition they fill an untraditional role they are expected to instruct classes, counsel students and be active in non-academic activities. All of these activities combined provide a program of educational leadership in addressing tobacco, alcohol and other drug issues, and in addressing prevention and safety issues in the school community.
2. When was the program created and why?
We began our program in the 1996-1997 school year with three School Resource Officers in the City’s high schools. The SRO program has now more than doubled over the past three years into the City’s Junior High Schools and is now being looked at in the elementary level. The program was initiated over a nation wide concern for the safety of children within our schools and the rise of juvenile offenders.
3. How is the program financed?
Funding for the program comes from various sources:
1) Kansas Criminal Justice Anti-Drug Grant
2) Unified School District 233
3) City of Olathe
The Grant has been on a declining scale beginning with a 100% contribution in year one to 50% contributions in year three. The remainder of the budget is shared equally by the school district and the city.
4. How do you measure the program’s effectiveness?
The effectiveness of the program can be difficult to measure. It can not be done statistically based on the number of reports taken by the officers. The fact that an officer is there to assist students in their time of need can not be measured in numbers. It has to be measured by the feedback that is received from teachers, administrators and students. Perhaps the best example of the program success is when a student contacted a SRO and stated "I am glad you’re here". This type of statement means more in evaluating this program than any statistical assessment could provide.
5. How is the community involved in the program? How has the community responded to the program?
The community support for this program has grown steadily over the past three years. At first there was some anxiety over what the officers would be accomplishing in the schools. But, as the time has progressed, the acceptance of the officers has been overwhelmingly positive in nature. Parents are thrilled to not only have the officers on campus, but to see them at after school events ( i.e., dances, football games). As each neighborhood has gotten to know their SRO, they have begun to think of them as their officer and report a wide variety of criminal activities to that individual officer.
The SRO program cannot be effective without the full support of both the police department and school district administration. Their dedication to this program must be sincere and they must work in unison to reach an acceptable conclusion to school violence.
6. Contact person:
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.