School Resource Officer Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a school resource officer. Feel free to use our school resource officer job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a school resource officer.
Who is a School Resource Officer?
They are also called SROs. A school resource officer is a sworn law enforcement officer responsible for safety, and crime prevention in school. They work closely with school administrators, security, and facility to ensure that there is safety in elementary, high schools, and middle schools he is also known as a school police officer. School resource officers (SRO) are employed by local police or sheriffs and their duties are similar to that of a regular police sheriff. They also can make arrests, respond to incoming calls to service, and document any occurrence or incident. They also perform other responsibilities such as mentoring and conducting seminar presentations on youth-related issues. An SRO is very much different from school-based law enforcement (SBLE) officers- who are employed by the school district’s law enforcement agency, rather than local or city law enforcement- though they can complement each other in a school environment.
The school resource officer is usually hired by the school but the local police can also provide its officers to take the job placement. The school can also outsource the recruitment of the SRO to any recruitment agency. The SRO is not a security guard but a law enforcement officer who is allowed and mandated under the law to use a firearm. Some schools don’t want to make the children uncomfortable and so they place some restrictions on the school resource officer handling a gun in the school environment.
The SRO should be willing to work with parents to ensure students are safe and protected. The school resource officer is the first person parents will contact to receive updates about a circumstance. The school always wants to work with an SRO that is willing to work closely with the stakeholders of the school. The SRO should also be able to work with the youth-serving professionals on a wide range of issues regarding the safety of the students.
A successful SRO must be very professional, patient, and have a good temper. He or she must have the ability to settle disputes and any other challenges he may encounter in the course of discharging his duties. He or She should also have mentoring skills and be a role model to students.
School Resource Officer Job Description
Below are the school resource officer job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a school resource officer job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
These are the duties and responsibilities of a School Resource Officer:
- Safety Plan Development: A good school system makes safety a primary responsibility and they enact safety laws to make sure students and staff are protected from danger. The responsibility of a school resource officer is to help the school in developing these practices and teach students and staff self-defense mechanisms so that they can be prepared for potential threats or harm to the school.
- Detention and Arrest: a school resource officer has the mandate to arrest any student caught breaking the law, for instance, a student caught using drugs, drinking alcohol sniffing cocaine, or caught using a dangerous weapon can be arrested by the school resource officer. Lesser offenses such as a student bullying another student can be left to the principal or vice-principal for punishment. The punishment can be suspension or the principal can expel the student if the crime is so severe.
- Internal Dispute Mediation: In a school environment with different personalities; fights, disputes, and contentions will surely spring up. A school resource officer’s responsibility is to intervene and settle conflicts between students or even students and staff. Some officers are specifically trained in dispute mediation and may be able to help parties resolve issues or irreconcilable differences.
- School Patrols: A School resource officer’s core job description is school patrolling. He or she must always patrol the school ground ensuring safety. It is only when he patrols the school ground that he can discover if there is danger in the school environment. He can look out for broken fences, unlocked doors or gates, and students roaming about in restricted areas. Most schools today have closed-circuit television security that monitors strangers that steps into the school vicinity and also monitors students on the school ground or campuses. The CCTV camera aids the job of school resource officer to keep the school safe.
- School Property Searches and Safety: if a student is a suspect of breaking the law; it is the responsibility of the SRO to conduct a thorough physical search, backpack, locker, or vehicle search. It is also the responsibility of the school resource officer to protect the school’s property and the personal belonging of the student to avoid any theft. Although students are being informed that they should keep their personal belongings safe the school resource officer can also be of assistance.
- Law enforcement Education: school resource officers have a responsibility to educate and enlighten students about school safety. This can be done during the assembly session; they can educate students on subjects like bullying, the dangers and effect of drug abuse, and online safety tips. SROs can also be called upon to educate teachers and staff about various safety precautions and dangers. It is also a school resource officer’s responsibility to assist in an emergency such as fire outbreaks or medical conditions.
- Advanced Safety function
School resource officers’ responsibilities can also include higher functions such as supervising metal detectors in schools, staffing special events where large crowds are gathered, and sometimes directing foot and auto traffic when necessary.
- A certification from a police academy with specialization or advanced training in a school setting
- Commissioned as a qualified law enforcement officer
- Knowledge of federal, state, and city laws
- A background in criminal justice
- Free from drug abuse and criminal record
- A patient attitude and temper
- The ability to counsel and interact with children
- A first aid and CPR certificate
- Communication and listening skills
- Medically fit
- Familiarity with the use of guns and other protective weapons
- Ability to Multi-task
- Critical and analytical Skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Teamwork skills
- Showcase an ability to work with youth such as coaching and mentoring experience
- A professionalattitude
- Readiness to develop partnerships with students, community, parents, organizations, and school administrators
- Ability to comprehend child development and psychology
- Ability to comprehend crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED)
The responsibility of a Special Resource Officer demands certain skills and competencies and they are:
- Communication Skill: some people feel that communication is not important to a school resource officer but communication is a very crucial skill that an SRO needs. Communication skills make SRO build a connection with students and also in the documentation of details. It is very important that when there is a crisis; the school resource officer should be able to communicate clearly or pass the message across clearly. Communication is also important on the part of the school management; the SRO works with staff, administrators, and other school officers to ensure that students are kept safe.
- Culturally and socially sensitive: the school is an environment that comprises students from diverse cultures and backgrounds. School resource officers need to have an in-depth understanding of the sociocultural background of the students. This aids them to respond to issues considering the diversity of the students and it also helps them to avoid responding to issues that can be racially and culturally insensitive. In recent times, this is one of the paramount qualities that an SRO should possess because there is an issue of racial discrimination in community policing.
- Positive Attitude: School resource officers must possess a positive attitude because they are guiding young people. Most of the school resource officers recruited are from local police departments and they have handled complicated cases such as peddling drugs, manslaughter, and other cases; this has already programmed their minds and given them a general judgment about everyone. They need to have a positive attitude and not look at every other person they meet negatively.
- Interpersonal and Interactive Skills: they need to build a bond with the students they protect. The SPO in elementary schools needs to mingle with pre-teens and teens and engage them in safety.
Some students prefer to talk to an SRO to a teacher and this makes the SRO serves as a link between the students and the school management. This can only be possible if the SRO is accommodating to the student. Pre-teens are gentle and innocent and will not like to approach a harsh person. A school resource officer who gets along with pre-teens is likely to meet their responsibilities more than someone that is not friendly.
- Knowledge of School Safety Implementation and Execution
There are cases of confrontation between students and law enforcement officials and the prevalence of mass shootings has made schools take a drastic step of implementing tight security and safety policies. They executed this by implementing the installation of a security system that can take advantage of modern technology. Such systems are X-Ray machines, visitor management systems, entry control equipment, social media watchers, internet safe kits, anonymous alerts, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, and panic buttons. The SRO should be familiar with all these technologies including how to implement and utilize them. An SRO with certification in policing technology should know how to most of the security safety technology installed in schools.
How to Become a School Resource Officer
There are stipulated steps one must follow to become a school resource officer; it is beyond acquiring a bachelor’s degree. These are the steps to follow:
- Earn your Education
To become s School resource officer you must at least have a high school diploma or a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Those that want to advance their career can acquire a bachelor’s degree in criminology so that they can be better law enforcement agents in society.
- Meet the Minimum Age Requirement and Have a clear background check
Before you become a school resource officer you must be at least 21 years. You must be mature enough to consider this job placement. You must also have a clear criminal record and also be free from drug abuse. In most police academies, candidates or trainers are being checked to ascertain if they are indulging in drug abuse and other requirements can be physical, medical, and psychological checks.
- Enroll in the Police Academy with an Advanced Training in School Setting
This is very important to any aspiring school resource officer; you must enroll in the police academy in other to become a community police. This is a place where police are being trained. School resource officers are recruited from the community police. You will be trained on the skills and tactics required to conduct your duty as a school resource officer. They are driving skills, firearm training, use of force, de-escalation, equipment training, crisis, and negotiation. You should focus on the school setting during the training since you want to become a school resource officer.
You can also acquire certification that can boost your skills as a school resource officer. The National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) offers training to earn certifications and boost your skills. You should also acquire certification in policing technologies to aid you in using technologies installed in schools.
- Work a Minimum of two years in a Law Enforcement Agency
Most school administrators don’t just hire a school resource officer like that; they hire them from community police or any law enforcement agency. If you are aspiring to be a school resource officer; you must have experience working as a law enforcement agent because nobody will offer you the responsibility to protect children without any experience. You can work in a law enforcement agency for at least two years before you get hired as a school resource officer.
In addition, once you become a school resource officer; maintain a relationship with the law enforcement agents or officers outside the school so that whenever you need assistance you can alert them.
Where can a School Resource Officer Work?
As the name implies, the school resource officers usually work in a school setting such as elementary school, high school, and middle school ensuring the safety of students.
School Resource Officer (SRO) Salary
- In the United States, the average salary of a school resource officer is $73,026 a year and $35 per hour. The salary varies based on the location and experience of the school resource officer.
- In the United Kingdom, a school resource officer earns an average salary of 38,465 pounds or an equivalent hourly rate of 18 pounds. The salary varies based on the location and qualification of the school resource officer.
- In Nigeria, A Police recruit working as a school resource officer earns an average salary of 30,019.42NGN per month and earns 360,233.04NGN per annum.