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SROs and Creating Safe Space: COPS Office Presentation at the NASRO Conference

Sarasota Police DepartmentIn July, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) participated in the 25th annual National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) conference with an attendance of more than 1,000 school resource officers (SRO), school officials, and other law enforcement staff from across the country. SROs are sworn law enforcement officers responsible for providing security and crime prevention services in the school environment while strengthening school safety planning and building partnerships with parents, community organizations, and other public agencies. The COPS Office has long partnered with NASRO to provide SROs basic training scholarships for COPS Hiring Program (CHP) grantees and participates in the annual conference as an exhibitor and instructor.

Sarasota Police DepartmentThis year, COPS Office Supervisory Senior Policy Analyst Calvin Hodnett partnered with Hazelwood (Missouri) School District Director of Safety Vershaun Howse and Riverview Gardens (Missouri) Director of Safety Kelli McCrary to discuss the response of school staff and administrators during the events in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014 following the shooting death of Michael Brown. The presentation, Creating Safe Space: Lessons from Ferguson, reviewed the daily challenges for school students, administration, and parents in the Hazelwood and Riverview Gardens communities where many of the protests and media events were occurring. Both districts worked with other local school administrators to develop strategic models to support the needs of students, staff, and parents from the first day through the whole school year, including interventions and counseling, mentoring, and family information sessions. The school and community members worked in partnership with elected officials and COPS Office staff proactively to support the emotional and intellectual needs of students as the school year progressed. Howse and McCrary stressed that the strategic models developed for planning and safety will continue to be utilized during the coming school years.

Sarasota Police DepartmentThe COPS Office was also an exhibitor during the NASRO conference and spoke with hundreds of SROs and school personnel about ongoing and innovative programs to ensure students can learn and grow in a safe education setting. We also distributed a number of publications, including the School Safety CD-ROM of more than 100 documents and resource links as well as Problem-Oriented Policing (POP) guides on topics such as School Vandalism and Break-Ins and Bullying in Schools.

The COPS Office is committed to Supporting Safe Schools and has a number of resources available for SROs and law enforcement as well as school administrators and parents on our website.

Elizabeth Simpson
Social Science Analyst
COPS Office

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