School Resource Officers
Limestone County Schools became the first in Alabama with SROs in ALL schools.
Sheriff Mike Blakely, Limestone County Schools Superintendent Dr. Tom Sisk, SRO Supervisor Captain Fred Sloss
A School Resource Officer (SRO) is a certified law enforcement officer who is assigned full-time to a school. For this, SROs receive many hours of ongoing specialized training. The concept is similar to the "cop on foot patrol" who knows the public he serves on a first name basis and is sensitive to their particular needs.
Like many adults, some students view law enforcement officers solely as enforcers of the law. By establishing a daily rapport with their school's SRO, students not only gain positive role models, but also a better understanding of law enforcement officers' many other duties and responsibilities. Likewise, SROs will gain a better perspective of the young people in their schools. By carefully assessing the needs of individual students, SROs are more aware of the development of unhealthy or destructive behavioral patterns. In many cases, it is possible through early intervention, to redirect negative behaviors before they cause a student to be referred to the criminal justice system.
The SRO program was first implemented in Flint, Michigan, in 1951. Since the program's inception, it has successfully been put to practice in 35 states. The involvement of SROs extends far beyond the classroom and normal work day. SROs participate in parent-teacher and faculty meetings, student social and sporting events, and club projects. The presence of SROs tends to strengthen the student/police bonds and shows the officers' commitment to the students and their education and safety.
In Limestone County, our SROs work closely with school administrators, faculty, and the individual community associated with their assigned school. They also investigate criminal violations which involve students as victims or suspects, visit classrooms and make presentations of law-related topics and material such as drug education, driver education, and the police role in society. Students are encouraged to seek the personalized attention of SROs. Each officer is specially trained to conduct informal, individual or group discussions.
(Contributed by Steve Croley, former SRO at West Limestone High School.)