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The first five things an SRO should do

As a school resource officer, success is measured by your ability to gain the trust of students and to help them grow


AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

By Katherine Schweit

School resource officers (SROs) are present in many communities across the country. SROs must be youth advocates, educators and protectors of all students in the schools they serve.

I’ve been working for more than a year on a digital shorts project specifically designed to help SROs prioritize their training as well as work successfully with all students. Each two- or three-minute short can be viewed on a desktop or phone and can be shared with other school employees who might find the information informative.

This video series helps SROs consider the way students think, how to connect with them, how to break down barriers to communication, and how to become a successful presence in their school.

The six-part series is put together with the support of the National Center for School Safety. The Center operates out of the University of Michigan and includes support from academics and practitioners across the country.

What are the short videos all about?

As a school resource officer, success is not measured by arrests, control, or discipline, but by your ability to gain the trust of students and to help them grow. It is a big change and an even bigger responsibility. But by taking a few simple steps, you can easily adjust to your new beat and start making a meaningful impact in students’ lives.

Watch the video to learn more about the first five steps you should take as a new SRO:

1. Sign a memorandum of understanding between the department and the school district.

2. Know your beat by learning the makeup of the staff, students and community.

3. Gather lists about staff, mental health resources and counselors.

4. Walk the beat to learn floorplans and identify weaknesses in school access points.

5. Become an immediate presence in your new community.

You can also download a poster with the key points, SRO Poster – The First 5 Things.

The full SRO video series and additional resources are available on the Center’s website. These were produced in partnership with Schweit Consulting LLC and Rocket Media Group LLC.

LISTEN: Katherine Schweit on how to end mass shootings

About the author

Katherine Schweit is an author, attorney, former Chicago prosecutor and career Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent who helped jail bank robbers, kidnappers, and domestic terrorists, while working daily with local police investigating and responding to mass casualty and active shooter incidents.

A native of Detroit, Ms. Schweit earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University. She earned a law degree at DePaul University and joined the Cook County prosecutor’s office as an assistant state’s attorney. She is the author of “Stop the Killing: How to End the Mass Shooting Crisis” and “A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States between 2000 and 2013.”

She runs Schweit Consulting LLC, providing leadership counseling, security advice and safety training to hospitals, businesses, religious organizations, educators and government clients.