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U.S. Department of Justice



Supporting Safe Schools

Supporting Safe Schools

Announcement: Departments of Justice and Education Issue School Discipline Guidance to Promote Safe, Inclusive Schools. Read more

The COPS Office is committed to supporting safe schools where students can learn and teachers can educate by providing a variety of resources, including grant funds to help deploy school resource officers (SROs). FY 2013 applicants who committed to deploying an SRO under the COPS Hiring Program (CHP) received additional consideration for funding.

To help our schools continue to be safe so that children can learn and develop, the community policing philosophy engages law enforcement, school administrators, parents, and students in a problem-solving partnership. The central mission of this partnership is student success. When students succeed, the entire community succeeds: students who experience achievement and make positive contributions within their schools become productive citizens in the larger community.

What is a School Resource Officer?

SROs are sworn law enforcement officers responsible for providing security and crime prevention services in the school environment. 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 for both students and staff. 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.

Officers should take the initiative to finalize school safety planning and build partnerships for future needs. An officer's primary responsibility is law enforcement; however, whenever possible, SROs should strive to employ non-punitive techniques when interacting with students, and an arrest should be used only as a last resort under specified circumstances. SROs play an integral role in the educational system and should positively impact the school environment.


Roles of School Resource Officers
star bullet Informal Counselor
Building relationships and reinforcing positive behaviors, while connecting youth with needed services.
Bullying in Schools
The Stop Snitching Phenomenon: Breaking the Code of Silence
Child Abuse and Neglect in the Home
star bullet Educator
Teaching and demonstrating topics related to law enforcement geared toward positive student behavior and collaborating with stakeholder groups.
Because Things Happen Every Day: Responding to Teenage Victims of Crime, Discussion Guide
Underage Drinking
star bullet Emergency Manager
Developing and implementing comprehensive safety plans or strategies, in coordination with school administrators and local first responders.
Bomb Threats in Schools
Guide for Preventing and Responding to School Violence, 2nd Edition

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
FY 2013 CHP SRO-prioritized grantees have the opportunity to voluntarily attend a National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) training course. For more information please review the Training Fact Sheet.
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. For more information please review the assessment models.

COPS School Safety CD
This School Safety CD-ROM provides more than 110 documents and links related to school violence, gangs, bullying, and property crime as a resource for local policymakers, law enforcement, school administrators, parents, and students.

Outside Resources
Page Location:
Funding > SRO