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The COPS Office supports safe schools by providing grant funds, technical assistance, and resources to help deploy school resource officers (SROs). Learn more about SROs and all of our projects and resources that support school safety.

What is a School Resource Officer?

SRO Roles: SROs play multiple roles in schools

SROs are sworn law enforcement officers responsible for safety and crime prevention in schools.

A local police department, sheriff's agency, or school system typically employs SROs who work closely with school administrators in an effort to create a safer environment.

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.

Not in Our Town and the COPS Office present the documentary, "Beyond the Badge: Profile of a School Resource Officer"

Beyond law enforcement, SROs also serve as educators, emergency managers, and informal counselors.

While an SRO's primary responsibility is law enforcement, whenever possible, SROs should strive to employ non-punitive techniques when interacting with students. Arrests should be used only as a last resort under specified circumstances.

Important Considerations When Assigning School Resource Officers:
star bullet Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
To ensure collaboration between the law enforcement agency and the educational community, an agency receiving funding for SROs will be required to submit an MOU to the COPS Office prior to implementing its CHP grant. For more information please review the MOU Fact Sheet.
star bullet Training
The COPS Office is committed to student success in a safe, supportive environment and the FY2017 COPS Hiring Program (CHP) included awards to deploy school resources officers (SROs). To ensure officers have the knowledge and resources to work in school settings, all funded SROs are reimbursed registration and travel costs to complete the NASRO Basic School Resource Officer Course. For more information, please see the FY2017 COPS Hiring Program School Resource Officer Mandatory Training.
star bullet Assessments
The level of safety in a school must be assessed using multiple indicators that apply to the total school environment. Assessments are one of the most effective ways to identify significant gaps in emergency planning before an incident reveals them with chronic plan failure.
star bullet School Discipline
The Departments of Justice and Education have jointly issued School Discipline Guidance to Promote Safe, Inclusive Schools (read more) and the Council of State Governments issued the School Discipline Consensus Report.
star bullet SECURe
The COPS Office recently partnered with the U.S. Department of Education on the development of Safe School-based Enforcement through Collaboration, Understanding, and Respect (SECURe) rubrics. They will assist in properly implementing school resource officers (SROs) so that SRO programs can positively impact the lives of our nation's students. These rubrics offer guidance to communities and law enforcement agencies to help those interested in implementing the most effective SRO programs.

Policy Guidance | Implementation Guidance

Averted School Violence:
The Averted School Violence (ASV) reporting system enables SROs and other law enforcement officers, school personnel and mental health professionals to share their stories and lessons learned, in order to improve school safety and help prevent future tragedies.

Additional Resources:
star bullet National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO)

NASRO is an organization that promotes safer schools and partnerships between students, school faculty and law enforcement by providing training and resources for school-based law enforcement officers (SROs), school administrators and other stakeholders.

Photo: Mo CanadyPolice in Schools Podcast by Mo Canady, NASRO Executive Director