School Resource Officer (SRO) Role in the School Safety Program
The SRO's support to the School Safety Program is vital to the success of the program. The officers must be present and accessible on their assigned school campus as required by the Safe Schools Grant. SRO's are expected to spend approximately 80 percent of their time on campus, dedicated to on campus activities.
The grant pays the officer's salary on a 10, 11, or 12 month, full time position, at 40 hours per week. Except for an emergency, the SRO shall not be called away from their designated school. If the officer is called away for other police business (not including mandatory training, meetings or crisis) the district will charge the City of Phoenix Police Department for that time.
Each officer must also teach students 180 hours of Law Related Education (LRE) per year which justifies the time they need to spend on campus.
Each School Resource Officer is assigned a performance goal that requires them to meet with the Police Neighborhood Enforcement Teams (NET squad) assigned near their schools to discuss current issues and trends associated with neighborhood enforcement. The NET squads address most criminal activity outside the school campus. In addition, patrol officers are required to contact the SRO assigned in their beats to review emergency response protocols (written plans that are kept at the schools). The SRO Police Supervisors are required to maintain positive relationships with patrol supervisors to share immediate concerns and open communication that could affect the school communities.
SRO Sergeant Support to the SRO Officers/School Administrators
The SRO Police Supervisor is required to meet with the school administrators at the beginning of each school year and maintain open-communication by exchanging contact numbers, reviewing the SROs roles and responsibilities, review and complete the SROs quarterly job performance evaluations, and discuss any issues or concerns to address successes or any areas needing improvement.
Police Bicycle Patrol Usage
Some largely populated campuses utilizing police patrol bicycles to monitor on campus activity. Since the SRO's have to maneuver around the students, the officers are required to attend the City of Phoenix Police Department formal training to operating the police patrol bicycles. The training helps to minimize potential liability to the City of Phoenix, but allows the SROs the ability to use a police bicycle to monitor and respond quickly to emergencies on campus.
The Bully Patrol Squad
The Phoenix Police Department is proud to announce that Air Libre Elementary School, 16428 North 21st Street, Phoenix, has adopted the concept of getting students involved in the prevention of bullying. Air Libre Elementary School, hosted their first ever "The Bully Patrol Squad" celebration, Thursday, May 21, 2015 with the school principal, Janice Moore, Phoenix SRO Officer Charlee Morton, student and parents. The "Bully Patrol Squad" program has been a huge success at Cactus View Elementary. Officer Morton says the "The goal of her schools Bully Patrol Squad, is to increase self esteem and team work among students and at the same time build a culture of communication so that victims of bullying believe their voices can be heard. The members of the "Bully Patrol Squad" are not bosses or tattle tales; these students offer support to would be victims and together they determine ways to handle some of the stresses of school." Media is invited, along with a Phoenix Police K-9, a motor officer, the Police Air Support Unit, Community Action Officers and Phoenix Police Explorers.
SRO Challenge Coin
In January 2015, Phoenix SRO Caleb Zigler introduced the City of Phoenix Police Department to the "SRO Challenge Coin", a program that instills honor, respect, integrity, and loyalty within our students and is designed to serve as a reminder of the participant's commitment to be a positive role model for other students. As part of the SRO Challenge, students sign a commitment card to be a positive role model, maintain passing grades, refrain from gang and other criminal activity, and be alcohol and drug free. On Saturday, May 9, 2015, students from Sevilla West Elementary School volunteered for a Graffiti "Paint-Out" and waste removal from the alleyway near their homes and their school. Students involved in the SRO Challenge initiated the clean-up project. These students wanted to build pride in, and ownership of the appearance of their community. The community service project was a huge success with 40 Sevilla West students along with 15 adults. Officer Wendy Klarkowski (founder of the SRO Challenge program) also rolled sleeves and "dug in" with the students. The 8th grade students look forward to graduating out of the SRO Coin Challenge where they receive a certificate for their many accomplishments.
School Safety Officer (SSO) Training Opportunities
Sergeant Lyn Butcher worked with Sergeant Jamie Rothchild to create a School Safety Officer (SSO) Training Opportunity for the Phoenix Police Department. They organized the curriculum for the SSO program and conducted several trainings to increase police presence and school safety city wide. This enables officers to work in an off-duty capacity at schools who wish to have an SSO program on their campus.
Wake Up Program
The 1994 drive by-shooting death of 4-year old Ashley Boss spurred the Phoenix Police Department to create a Community Effort to Abate Street (C.E.A.S.) Violence program to combat youth violence. Designed to give 7th and 8th grade students an alternative to violence and gang behavior, and encourage positive solutions, the Wake Up! Program teaches social and personal responsibility, community pride, life management skills and conflict resolution. Wake Up! makes youth aware that choices exist and that bad choices have consequences. Wake Up! goes beyond simply instructing in what behaviors they should avoid; police officers present and demonstrate an alternative path for students to follow. Participation by youth requires, and then perpetuates, a commitment of service to the community, avoidance of violence and positive achievement. These efforts are accomplished as a group, within a social environment, providing peer support and team building. Partnerships are created among the police, students, parents, schools, community organizations, and local businesses.
The Wake Up! programs emphasize substance abuse prevention, violence reduction, leadership and organizational skills, and personal responsibility.
There are several Wake Up! programs that operate summer programs and instill positive values for children to follow during the summer. SRO's and some school staff personnel run the summer programs. During these programs, the students have an opportunity to go on a variety of educational field trips as well as listen to various educational guest speakers from within the Phoenix Police Department provide them lessons on their area of expertise: i.e. forensic artist, homicide, graffiti detectives, et cetera.
Other roles and details performed by SROs
- Safe Summer Education
- Arrest the Grinch (during Christmas time)
- Shop with a Cop (during Christmas time)
- Assist families in Need (partner with Angels on Patrol)
- Tooth Fairly
- Walk to School/Bike Rodeo's
- Bike to School
- Parent University
- Giving Closet
- Veteran's / First Responders Assistance
- Red Ribbon Week
- Mock DUI Crash (w/VCU at Desert Vista HS prior to prom and graduation)
- McGruff the Crime Fighting Dog