School Resources Officers

  • Nothing is more important to us than the safety and security of our students and employees, and the main priority of our school resource officers (SROs) is to protect buildings districtwide and develop emergency preparedness. Beyond helping to maintain campus security in their highly visible roles, SROs serve in multiple capacities, all of which are grounded in keeping schools safe and strengthening community ties.

     

    In addition to SROs, the district employs security personnel through a contract with Standing Stone, Inc.

     

    Since 1998, the district has partnered with local police departments to provide school resource officers in our secondary schools. SROs are police officers employed by their respective departments who volunteer for the role. The district reimburses the municipal police departments for the time the SROs are in the schools.

     

    SCASD has three contracts for SROs at both middle schools and the high school as well as the Delta Program. These support two full-time positions from the State College Police Department, and one part-time position from the Patton Township Police Department. SROs are assigned to State High, Mount Nittany Middle School/the Delta Program, and Park Forest Middle School but also sometimes work with our elementary schools.

    State College Police Department SROs

    Patton Township Police Department SRO

    While SROs figure prominently in school security, it’s important to note that SROs are not part of the school discipline process. Our administrators handle all disciplinary action related to the school code of conduct and violation of district policy. When matters that may result in PA Crimes Code violations happen in schools, principals will consult with SROs. In these cases, SROs are responsible for applying the law to incidents investigated in the school, including the recommendation to file charges or use an alternative disposition like the Youth Aid Panel.

    SRO Training and Experience

    • All SCASD SROs attend annual training related to community policing in schools through the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) and the Pennsylvania Association of School Resource Officers (PASRO). 

    • All three SROs and four back-up SROs have attended the Basic SRO course, a five-day (40-hour) training program. All three of the SROs in our schools have also attended the Advanced SRO course, which is an additional 3-day (24-hour) training program. They are also trained in restorative practices and the QPR Institute method of suicide prevention.

    • All three SROs have also attended adolescent mental health training through NASRO. Each officer also attends the required Centre County training on topics selected by the respective police chiefs. In the basic and advanced training courses, SROs receive training on implicit bias in a module that has been part of the courses for many years. SROs also attend equity, implicit bias, and cultural diversity training through their police departments. Additionally, SROs have been trained to interact with students with special needs which includes Autism Spectrum Disorder.

     

    SROs are trained first responders, capable of handling emergencies of all types. Because they are housed in our schools, they are immediately available to assist students, employees and visitors during any emergency situations. Their roles in emergencies in or around the schools will vary depending on the type of emergency. As trained first responders, they can administer emergency aid if needed and coordinate and facilitate emergency responses from outside agencies via their ability to communicate directly with the Centre County Emergency Communications Center. Each SRO is equipped with a medical bag containing oxygen and all medical and first aid supplies as well as a mobile AED and Narcan. Given their positions and direct communication with the County 911 Center, they often are the first to know of potential hazardous situations such as weather alerts, tornado warnings, and critical or criminal incidents near the schools.

     

    Our SROs do not leave our campuses when off-campus emergencies arise. They ensure that our students and staff are safe and secure and provide timely and accurate communications to SCASD administrators regarding the community emergency. There have been critical incidents in the community in which the SROs were notified via their police radios and were able to alert nearby SCASD schools immediately and have them take appropriate action to ensure their safety. SROs are also able to quickly ascertain the validity and seriousness of outside incidents because of their ability to monitor and directly respond with emergency communications on their police radios.

    Campus Safety

    SROs play a critical role in maintaining campus safety to protect our students and employees. In the event of a crisis such as an intruder, they can respond quickly on the scene while helping to coordinate other responders. Additionally, the SRO is in charge of leading campus security efforts by district employees as well as contracted security personnel. As the district’s resident safety and security experts, SROs advise the district Emergency Operations Team in developing the Emergency Operations Plan and general safety procedures for all buildings. For example, SROs work with faculty, staff and students to provide Lockdown training.

     

    At SCASD, an SRO also serves as an integral member of our Safe2Say Something response team. Having an SRO on the team, which receives tips 24/7, has proved to be valuable because the officer brings investigative experience, community connections, and institutional knowledge.

     

    Additional SCASD SRO Duties and Responsibilities

    • Serves on the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)

    • Serves as a member of the Behavior Threat Assessment Team 

    • Serves as a member of the Rapid Response, Building Succession and Threat Assessment Teams

    • Serves as members of the SCASD emergency response and traumatic events teams 

    • Helps to create a safe school environment and maintain collaborative communication and cooperation with the school administration and staff

    • Maintains high visibility in and around the assigned schools 

    • Works closely with students, teachers, parents, and community agencies such as Juvenile Probation, and Children and Youth Services 

    • Assists in diverting students from the juvenile justice system 

    • Conducts and assists in criminal investigations, particularly those which occur on school property or on the way to and from school. 

    • Participates in school and community activities (e.g., school assemblies, faculty meetings, PTA/PTO/PTSO meetings.) 

    • Assists with after school activities and events as needed. 

    • Becomes knowledgeable about appropriate school district policies, procedures, rules, and regulations.

    • Develops and implements campus traffic control plan 

    • Processes motor vehicle accidents on campus

    • Completes a daily report of activities

    Community Partnerships and Educational Outreach

    SROs build and foster positive interactions with students, parents, staff, and faculty to promote trusting relationships with law enforcement. These officers also work with faculty and staff in developing strategies to resolve problems affecting youth, including the restorative practices with the local Youth Aid Panel and diversionary programs (i.e., community service rather than entering the county level juvenile justice system). Also, the SROs provide law-related education and presentations to students and serve as a guest lecturer when needed.

     

    In the district, SROs:

     

    • Create a positive role model for students by building positive relationships with students and staff to promote a positive image of law enforcement, creating a link between law enforcement and the students, and being a resource for parents, staff, administration, and students in regards to law enforcement and community problems.

    • Promote drugs/vape identification, awareness and safety.

    • Engage in media relations as expert sources on such topics as school safety and drugs/vaping.

    • Give presentations at parent Straight Talks on safety relating to drugs, alcohol and social media.

    • Educate students on social media safety and digital citizenship.

    • Instruct drug education programs as developed or requested.

    • Assist in developing and facilitating programs directed toward school safety and law enforcement education for students and staff. 

    • Increase educational opportunities for staff and students around law enforcement and citizenship issues.

    • Contribute to drug and alcohol abuse prevention efforts.

    • Present unit on traffic stops to all Driver’s Education students.

    • Assist in maintaining a safe learning environment by contributing to the reduction of school violence.

    • Assist “at risk” youth through a range of intervention programs offered within the school and community.

    • Assist the district with educational outreach efforts such as school bus safety campaigns and anti-vaping initiatives.

     

    In the district, SROs do not:

     

    • Discipline students

    • Help Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to find and arrest undocumented students and/or their families. SROs do not consider or report immigration status when interacting with students.

    When the district receives complaints regarding adults, including parents or employee concerns, we consult with the SROs and consider whether a complaint needs to be filed with the police.

    Data pertaining to SROs and SCASD students

    SCASD is required annually to submit data to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for their Safe Schools Report. Here are the reports for the four prior school years: 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020, and 2020-2021. If you are interested in reviewing Safe Schools Reports from years earlier than 2017-2018, please access PDEs Safe Schools Online Report.

     

    Incidents involving law enforcement and arrests

    2017-2018: 38 incidents and one arrest. 

    2018-2019: 22 incidents with zero arrests. 

    2019-2020: 33 incidents involving law enforcement in SCASD with one arrest.

    2020-2021: 18 incidents involving law enforcement in SCASD zero arrests.

Last Modified on December 11, 2023