School Resource Officers
(L-R, Officer Shannon Young, Officer Joseph Torre, Officer Robert Long)
School Resource Officers (S.R.O.’s)
Currently, an estimated one third of all sheriffs’ offices and almost half of all police departments assign nearly 17,000 sworn officers to serve in schools. Nearly half of all public schools have police officers assigned. (Center for Problem Oriented Policing).
The Pen Argyl School District has three schools within the jurisdiction of the Slate Belt Regional Police Department. Two of these schools, Plainfield Elementary School and Wind Gap Middle School, are located in Plainfield Township. Pen Argyl High School is located in Pen Argyl Borough. Currently, over 1,600 students attend these schools.
Each September, three dedicated School Resource Officers are assigned to our schools, providing a permanent presence to protect our children. Since 2018, the department partnered with the District to provide ALICE (Active Shooter) training to all school personnel and students.
Some of the daily duties of the S.R.O.’s are:
Interior and Exterior Patrols
Handling calls for service inside the schools
Active Shooter / Unwanted Persons Planning and Drills
Emergency Drills / ALICE Training – Drill Planning
Assist in Evacuation / Lockdown Drills
Update / Draft School maps and Emergency Contact Lists
Security Evaluations / Assessments of buildings
Meeting with / Conduit between Department and Juvenile Agencies
Liaison between Department and District regarding police related activities
The following list provides examples of general duties and responsibilities that officers may carry out when assigned to our schools:
To protect lives and property for the citizens and public school students.
To enforce Federal, State and Local criminal laws and ordinances.
To investigate criminal activity committed on or adjacent to school property.
To counsel public school students in special situations, such as students suspected of engaging in criminal misconduct, when requested by the principal or the principal's designee or by the parents of the student.
To answer questions that students may have about criminal or juvenile law.
To assist other law enforcement officers with outside investigations concerning students attending the school(s) to which the SRO is assigned.
To prevent juvenile delinquency through close contact with students and school personnel.
To establish liaison with school principals, faculty, and students.
To provide liaison between students and social agencies which provide needed services.
To act as a resource for the principal in investigating criminal law violations occurring in the school or on school property.
To assist administration and faculty in formulating criminal justice programs.
To formulate educational crime prevention programs to reduce the opportunity for crimes against persons and property in the schools.
To be aware at all times of the responsibility to improve the image of the uniformed law enforcement officer in the eyes of the students and the community.
To provide traffic control during the arrival and departure of students when a school crossing guard is absent.
Refrain completely from functioning as a school disciplinarian. The School Resource Officer is not to be involved in the enforcement of disciplinary infractions that do not constitute violations of the law.
Confer with the principal to develop plans and strategies to prevent and/or minimize dangerous situations on or near the campus or involving students at school-related activities.
Take law enforcement action as necessary and notify the principal of the school as soon as possible;
Give assistance to officers in matters regarding the duties of SROs whenever necessary.