School Resource Officers (SROs) are sworn law enforcement officers who are responsible for providing security and crime prevention services in the school environment.
SROs typically work closely with administrators in an effort to create a safer environment for both students and staff. The responsibilities of SROs are similar to regular police officers in that they have the ability to make arrests, respond to calls for service, and document incidents that occur within their jurisdiction. School resource officers typically have additional duties to include mentoring and conducting presentations on youth-related issues.
School resource officers have been in existence since 1953 when Flint, Michigan, provided the first documented SRO to their community. The topic was not broadly discussed in the years to follow but then in 1968, the Fresno, California, Police Department looked to the school resource officer program as a tool to revitalize its image in the eyes of its youth. This early adaptation of the program involved placing plain clothed officers in the middle schools and elementary schools to foster the relationship that the department had with the youth, which is still a goal of the program today.
Although Fresno’s program began with non-uniformed officers, it has progressed into what is seen in most communities today to include a uniformed officer, operating a marked police vehicle, and who is responsible for safety and security on the school property. In addition to these responsibilities, Resource Officers must be able to communicate effectively with school officials and be able to address a variety of situations. They must also be willing to communicate with parents, assist with behavior issues and give presentations when necessary.
The Ypsilanti Police Department is proud to partner with the Ypsilanti Community Schools and has a SRO assigned to the Middle School. This is in addition to the Sheriff’s Deputy that patrols the High School. The two SROs work together in concert to solve issues that span the two schools.