Officials say school resource officers provide more than school security

Published: May. 31, 2022 at 10:02 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Uvalde, Texas school shooting has many parents wondering about the role of school resource officers. Alabama schools and police departments are looking to bolster those ranks.

Officials said adding SRO’s isn’t just about school security, but that it also gives students another adult to look up to and check in on their mental health.

“It takes a special kind of officer to be a school resource officer,” Calera Police Chief David Hyche said. “Having police officers around our kids every day, from kindergarten all the way through school, is extremely valuable.”

Chief David Hyche said resource officers are trained in building trust and relationships with the students.

“I think it is important for kids to know and trust the school resource officer, because that makes them a lot more approachable. That way if something is going on and they need somebody to talk to, they have someone.”

Mo Canady with the National School Resource Officer Association said they specifically train officers in adolescent brain development.

“That affects how students respond to situations,” Canady said. “We believe that training is critically important.”

Canady said SRO’s have other trainings, like domestic violence awareness training and skills for students with special needs.

“We train them around issues of human trafficking,” Canady said. “We offer a separate course called adolescent mental health training for SRO’s. It helps them understand the different mental health issues they might face and how to de-escalate those and how to be really helpful.”

Canady said it is about creating relationships with students and parents to try and stop school security problems before they occur.

“That leads to a level of protection as well,” Canady said. “Because, when you have those relationships going on, those SRO’s are getting valuable intelligence from students, from parents, and from staff. In many instances, that has helped an SRO conduct and investigation and stop an act of school violence before it ever occurs.”

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