What is a school resource officer? Police are present in local schools


What is a school resource officer? Police are present in local schools

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Students change classes in the junior high section of Monroe Junior/Senior High School Tuesday, Oct. 17 in Monroe. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF FILE

School resource officers are receiving new attention in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school last week.

Officials announced Thursday that school resource officer Deputy Scott Peterson never went inside to engage the gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School while the shooting was underway. Peterson has resigned.

President Trump questioned the inaction of an armed officer who failed to stop the gunman who carried out last week’s Florida massacre. Departing the White House, Trump told reporters that “when it came time to get in there and do something,” Peterson “didn’t have the courage or something happened.”

School resource officers have a variety of functions, according to the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police.

“School resource officers … will arrest violators, confront suspicious behaviors, recognize danger and respond according to our training will keep schools safer,” the union said in a statement. “In addition to improving security, SROs build relationships between students and law enforcement, provide a positive role model and serve as guest instructors in classrooms on issues such as drug addiction.”

In the Dayton area, SROs are a fixture of many schools.

A 2015 Dayton Daily News survey of 22 local school districts found that most large districts have local police regularly serving as SROs in their buildings. Several other districts without SROs cite an open-door policy with their police departments.

Dayton-area schools take a variety of approaches, largely depending on the size of the district. The 10 largest districts in the area all have school resource officer or security officer programs, according to the 2015 survey of district officials.

On Thursday, Fairborn High School’s SRO played a central part in assisting with a lockdown caused by social media chatter at the middle school, according to police documents.

More local reporting from the Dayton Daily News:

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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