School Resource Officers Train for Upcoming School Year
The Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office hosted training this past week for more than 50 School Resources Officers from around the state so the officers could be prepared to head back to school in a couple of months.
Twenty-eight officers from various law enforcement agencies throughout the state went through their basic training as SROs all this week, while 25 others attended an advanced class Wednesday through Friday.
Officers in the basic class learned the roles and responsibilities of an SRO, crisis planning, gang and gang-related signs and issues, interview and interrogation of juveniles, search and seizure of juveniles and K-9 use on the campus. They also learned about youth trends, such as Internet, Facebook, Twitter and social media, so that officers can better understand the mentality of the students. The advanced training expanded on some of these same issues, but also discussed more scenario-based situations and juvenile issues.
Commander Bobby Robinson with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office, organized the training. “When I went to school," he said, "if there were fights, you fought with your fists or somebody might have brass knuckles or somebody might have a stick. Back in the day, the worst you got was a bloody nose. Now it’s gunfire, people are shot and stabbed with major injuries. It’s a change of culture.”
Training for SROs has also evolved. “We used to teach officers to protect the school from intruders from the outside,” said Robinson. “Now we have to look at that a lot of times that it comes from within. SROs started off in the beginning of trying to make contact with kids and to build rapport between police and the children in the community. Now it’s gone more towards a safety issue and having an officer there who can react and be a first responder,”
Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington has been working closely with Bossier Schools Superintendent D.C. Machen and the Bossier Parish School Board for the implementation of SROs in each of the 34 school campuses in the parish. “I have managed the SRO program in a way that has produced professional results we have come to expect from those entrusted with the responsibility of keeping our children safe,” Whittington said. “With this expansion of the SRO program, I commit to the residents of Bossier Parish that I will continue sound management of the program so that children can learn and grow in the safest environment.”
Bossier Sheriff’s Office Captain Danny Dison, director of security for the Bossier Parish School system and supervisor of all SROs in Bossier Parish, is pleased with the quality of training the officers receive. "These officers are dealing with issues in the schools that weren’t even thought about years ago,” Dison said. “Staying on top of youth trends, teaching styles and juvenile legal issues will ensure our SROs are prepared this fall as more than 22,000 students in Bossier Parish head back to school.”
In the above photo, Maj. Kirk Taylor of the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office (left) instructs new School Resource Officers about juvenile issues dealing with interview and interrogation and search and seizure, while Lt. Sam Chrisman looks on.