School Resource Officer Program
In August of 1998, the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office and Pioneer Central School in Yorkshire implemented Cattaraugus County's first School Resource Officer (SRO) position.
The Sheriff's Office SRO program has expanded since that time and now has ten School Resource Officers in seven school districts. The current SRO programs, in addition to Pioneer, are in Randolph, Salamanca, Gowanda, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Allegany-Limestone Central School Districts, and Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES.
What is a School Resource Officer?
The school resource officer (SRO) is a certified law enforcement officer who is assigned to a school. For this, SROs receive many hours of specialized training. The concept is similar to the "officer on foot patrol" who knows the public he or she services on a first name basis and is sensitive to their particular needs.
Like many adults, some students view deputy sheriffs solely as enforcers of the laws. Students that have positive interaction with SRO's view law enforcement in an entirely different light. They see the SRO as a friend, and advisor, and positive role model, and someone to turn to in time of need.
The SRO also acts as a deterrent to criminal behavior through positive interactions with students and by his or her presence on the school campus.
The Responsibilities of SROs
The triad concept of the School Resource Officer Program is that of an educator, law enforcer, and counselor. Listed below are the details of each facet of this concept.
- Educator - SROs visit classrooms and make presentations that concern student safety, traffic laws, general law and crime prevention. SROs also work with individual teachers to create special programs tailored to specific units of study.
- Law Enforcer - Working with school administrators, the SRO's primary duty is to investigate criminal violations which involve students as suspects or victims.
- Counselor - Students are encouraged to seek individual attention from the SRO. The SRO is available for conferences with students, parents and staff regarding law related issues or problems.
Guidelines of the SRO Program
- SROs are not disciplinarians. An SRO takes action only when a violation of the law has occurred.
- SROs coordinate their activities with administrators and staff members and seek advice and guidance before enacting any program within the school.
- SROs are deputy sheriffs sworn to uphold the law.
- SROs make presentations on various subjects of law related education in order to increase student understanding of the laws.
- Should it become necessary to conduct criminal investigations in the school, SROs conduct those investigations in the school, SROs conduct those investigations in accordance with New York State Law, school district policy and policy of the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office.
Information on the School Resource Officer Program
For more information on the School Resource Officer Program, contact the Sheriff's Office.