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Louisa County Sheriff's Office

School Resource Officer (SRO) Program

 

Cooperation between law enforcement and schools is an important step in increasing school safety. The School Resource Officer (SRO) Program places law enforcement officers (Deputy Sheriffs) in Louisa County Public Schools, in an effort to create a safe and secure setting, with a focus on prevention and early intervention activities for the community's youth. At its foundation, a successful program is community based, reflecting a comprehensive community focus that integrates law enforcement officers, including those assigned in the public schools, with the existing network of resources in the community. The SROs are more than law enforcement officers in the schools - the schools are unique communities and the SROs fulfill three principle roles in those schools.

Law Enforcement Officer - First and foremost, SROs serve as law enforcement officers, whose primary purpose is to "keep the peace" so that students can focus on learning. SROs have the authority and duty to handle crimes and make arrests, when necessary. If appropriate, alternatives to prosecution may include counseling, deferment and/or school administrative action.

Community Liaison and Problem Solver - SROs serve as counselors who provide guidance to students and act as a link to support services both inside and outside the school environment. The SRO is aware of community resources and contacts that can be helpful in solving many problems. Some of these community resources include mental health services, substance abuse assessment and treatment providers, child protective services, runaway shelters, domestic violence services, and family counseling agencies.

Law-related Educator - Law-related education is designed to teach students the fundamentals and skills needed to become responsible citizens. Law-related education teaches social competence, problem-solving skills (making good choices for the future), self-esteem, and reinforces high expectations for youth and positive peer norms. The cornerstone of law-related education is the Louisa County Sheriff's Office Learn And Win (LAW) program. The LAW program is provided to students in grades five through twelve.

In addition to the three principle purposes, SROs serve as positive role models for many youth who may not be exposed to such role models in today's society. Some ways the SRO acts as a positive role model include: setting limits by being clear about what is acceptable and unacceptable; setting an example; being honest; being consistent with students, staff and parents; encouraging responsibility; and showing respect for students.

It is the policy of the Louisa County Sheriff's Office to endorse and support through staffing the creation of positive interaction between law enforcement and the school community. This endeavor is a partnership between education and law enforcement, which supports a collaborative, problem solving approach to issues of crime and violence in schools.

Objectives of the SRO Program include:

  • Foster an atmosphere of safety through the enforcement of criminal and traffic laws, and to provide the timely sharing of pertinent crime-related information between school and law enforcement personnel.

  • Promote effective communication between the Sheriff's Office and administrators, teachers, staff, parents, and youth of the school community.

  • Provide instruction for classes concerning the criminal justice system, law enforcement, and public safety.

  • Assist in intervention projects such as drug prevention, including the Learn and Win (LAW) program and "at-risk" youth projects.

  • Cultivate positive relationships with students, strengthening each students understanding of good citizenship and accountability for his/her actions, and to allow SROs to serve as mediators for law enforcement/school-related problems.

  • Promote citizen awareness of law enforcement efforts, to assure the peaceful operation of school-related programs, and to build support with students.

  • Adhere to the reporting requirements in Virginia law, specifically as outlined in Virginia Code 22.1-279.3:1(D).

  • Provide assessment of schools and early identification of high risk or criminal activity on school properties.

  • Coordinate student activities that promote a safe school environment, and to serve as liaisons between schools and law enforcement.

  • Serve as a resource for violence reduction and avoidance for students.
 
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