Police officer and full-time school resource officer here for you to vent your frustrations on and ask questions! I did an AMA on a different account a few years back regarding patrol work before I was assigned to a school, and it was pretty popular, so now I'm back for exciting AMA action.

Context: I work in an urban, very low income middle school, and I am stationed there full-time.

I submitted verification to the mods. Unfortunately my PD doesn't allow us to speak publicly about the intracies of the job, so I've gotta stay (mostly) anonymous. Sorry!

Fire away homies.

EDIT: Guys, I gotta punch out, it's 8:22 here and I gotta put my daughter to bed. As my old USMC Sergeant used to say, it's been real and it's been fun but it hasn't been real fun. I hope you guys enjoyed it and had a productive discussion. Thank you all for your time and your comments, and your compliments. I had way fewer death threats on this AMA than my last one.

Since this is a throwaway the chance of me responding to questions after this is pretty small, but you never know! Say, anyone know if I can xfer the (very kind of you all) reddit gold gifts to my _actual_reddit account?


Comments: 680 • Responses: 82  • Date: 

xpLxM272 karma

I was listening to the radio yesterday and a professor of law enforcement was being interviewed and he made it sound like school resource officers were on campus not to protect the children, but to police them, or enforce punishments handed down by the administration. What are your thoughts on that? Do you feel that's true, and if so, what does that say to you about how educators are prepared for engaging with children today?

Edit to add a link to the interview I'm referring to: http://www.npr.org/2015/10/27/452316254/s-c-high-school-arrest-tape-reignites-debate-over-police-brutality

LookAtMeImAnSRO80 karma

Good question. Like I said in another reply, there is an ideal for SRO's and there is also the all-too-common unfortunate reality. The reality is that the professor is (mostly) correct, school districts are using SRO's like security and SRO's are doing it because they either have no choice or have no training (or a combination thereof).

Bottom line is, a school district's first priority is education. They want test scores to go up, graduation rates to go up, administrators not to bother them, and parents who aren't complaining. Everything else, including and especially school security, are distant compared to Job One.

So what ends up happening is these districts get this cop and they don't know what to do with him, so they sic him on problems or problem kids so that they don't interfere with Job One.

EricT5919 karma

But aren't police officers of the courts? Aren't they ultimately answerable to the courts not school admin?

I can see in some cases, like inner city schools where a police presence is an unfortunate reality, but I feel it is being over used.

LookAtMeImAnSRO8 karma

Yeah you're right, I talked about that in some of my other responses.

Katrar54 karma

How do you perceive yourself while on the job? How do you think most of your fellow SROs perceive themselves?

By that I mean... I have a kid in the public school system. As a parent I hope that any SROs posted to any schools she attends view themselves as a form of social worker in the way they interact with children. Do you see yourself as a cop first, or a first line resource for children first?

LookAtMeImAnSRO112 karma

There's a long and convoluted answer for that, so the TLDR is an SRO is a social worker first and a cop second, but many of them do not see it that way or do not perform that way.

There is a thing called the "SRO Triad" and it explains that the three main purposes of the SRO program are mentorship, education, and law enforcement. The idea is that if you spend the majority of your time on the first two, you won't have to spend much time on the third one.

There are two main issues with that: Firstly, the school district doesn't necessarily see it that way, and if they do, they usually don't know how to apply it. Most districts aren't exactly sure how to wield an SRO properly and don't care to take the time to learn. So they end up using the SRO as a security guard no matter how much the SRO himself bitches and moans about it (a problem I personally run into frequently).

Secondly, a lot of SRO's are just sent into schools with no real training on how or what to do, so they do what they're trained to do: act like cops. The reality is that an ideal SRO is barely a cop; it really is an entirely different job and should be viewed (and trained) as such. But the way the system is implemented in most places tends to actively prevent or hinder that.

Katrar43 karma

Thanks for the answer. I find it very troubling that there may be many SROs that want to be better utilized as an asset for at-risk children but are hindered by the behavior or assumptions of the school/district they are assigned to.

Quick follow-up question if you don't mind. You mentioned that a lot of SROs are sent to schools with inadequate training. Are these postings generally voluntary, or are there beat cops that could find themselves deposited into a school with a combination of poor training and personal disinterest?

LookAtMeImAnSRO1963 karma

I find it very troubling that there may be many SROs that want to be better utilized as an asset for at-risk children but are hindered by the behavior or assumptions of the school/district they are assigned to.

I wanted to address this specifically because it brings up one of my largest complaints, and a constant uphill battle I fight. In a microcosm, here is the disconnect between schools and SRO's:

Situation: A kid does something goofy in class, maybe he talks out of turn, throws something at another kid, mouths off to the teacher, and gets sent to the principals office. Nothing criminal has occurred. Kid refuses to go, won't leave class, so teacher calls principal, principals sends me to pull the kid out.

This is a gigantic fucking problem. The situation can only play out a handful of ways. If the kid comes willingly, crisis averted. But what if he doesn't?

Now you have two options. You could try to talk him out, but if that fails, then what? If you don't succeed, that whole class is watching you. As a cop, you'll neuter yourself. That kid must come out of that class or you will lose a massive amount of authority in the eyes of the kids.

So you have one more option. Force him out. Do it gently, sure, but if he struggles or fights back, then what? Now you're fighting a kid.

But here's the motherfucker: You're fighting a kid for a non-criminal school infraction. You, a 200 lbs certified police officer, are fighting a fucking kid for a goddamn school infraction. If I sound mad, it's because I am.

I have gone to bat so many times to the principals and told them, stop calling me for that. If you don't want a kid arrested, if he didn't do something criminal, call the disciplinarian and leave me out of it. But they won't, and they haven't, and one day it's going to be a problem and I'll end up the guy from the fucking news.

Ninja next day edit: First, thank you for the gold. Second, there's a couple things people keep bringing up that I wanted to address. Namely, some responders seem to think that by this post I'm suggesting going zero to 100 and that I'm fighting every kid who refuses to leave a class. This is not accurate. In my other responses you'll see a lot of the non-violent methodology I use to get kids to leave class. Other people here have offered more great suggestions and strategies, which is awesome.

Another topic that keeps coming up is that not leaving is technically breaking the law. I talked about that too in some other responses. This is accurate. Not leaving can be construed as breaking the law. But do we really want an incident which, before SRO's, would be handled at the school level being turned into a criminal offense? Isn't the idea behind SRO's to reduce the school to prison pipeline? Poor SRO programs are the ones that increase arrest rates, good ones are the ones that don't.

Another topic is, why not just refuse to do it? Again, this is discussed in other comments, but understand this: If I refuse the principal, I will more than likely be removed from the school. I did refuse once, and I was very nearly kicked out and my relationship with admin has and will not ever be the same. And I don't want to be removed from the school... at least not yet. One day soon I imagine, but not now.

Lastly, many people keep bringing up "losing face" in front of the kids. It has been said that I am more concerned about my authority than I am about the kids. Not true. Every encounter a police officer has, not just SRO's but every officer, will send a lasting message to the kid and everyone else who watches that encounter. If I go in, try to talk the kid out, fail, and shrug my shoulders and say, "Oh well, sorry, couldn't do it," what happens then?

The kids already call the school's bluff. They know that the school can't really do anything, in fact, there's a maximum amount of suspension days kids are allowed to get in a year. Hit your cap, and the school can't do jack shit other than call your parents and complain. And if the parents don't care, or feel like the school/cop is the bad guy, then what's left?

Now, the kid wants to call the police out the same way they called the school's bluff. If you allow it, the result will be that it keeps happening, and eventually those kids will carry that attitude out on the street and patrol won't treat them with kid gloves and care, they'll lock them up for any offense they can find and now that kid has a record. Kids need to understand that when the police show up, you must follow directions. Law and order function on that premise. If the directions are unlawful, then follow up later through the proper channels to get justice. The concept of telling the police to fuck off is how you end up with more Mike Browns.

You may not like that, but it's reality, dude.

That's how you end up with the catch-22 described in this post. The police shouldn't be there to enforce school discipline, because it turns it into a crime. But when the police are there, it's now a crime, and you can't just let it slide because there are far reaching and longer term consequences than possibly having to manhandle a teenager. But then once that's over, and the school doesn't want to press charges, you're back to being a school disciplinarian and bouncer, which is not the job of an SRO, and legal police authority shouldn't be wielded in that manner unless an arrest is imminent.

It's circular. Don't call the cops if you don't want someone arrested, and if you want someone arrested and they resist, expect reasonable and appropriate force to be used to effect that arrest. But have we come so far as a society to think that we need to call the cops for nothing but defiance?

Katrar306 karma

I have generally been very critical of law enforcement over the past couple years. In my opinion there are deep, deep systemic and cultural issues within the profession. Coming from a military background I see far too much similarity between the LE world and the one I left (army infantry). That said, I am thankful that you took the time to write such a cogent and well articulated synopsis of the problems SROs face on the job. Problems that are generated not by the kids, but by other adults. When you routinely place people in scenarios with so many possible bad outcomes, those bad outcomes will quickly begin to accumulate.

Are there things we can do as citizens to promote healthy change in the relationships between SROs and school administrators?

LookAtMeImAnSRO235 karma

Complain. Get involved. PTA or PFC or whatever your school has. Schools bend to the wills of parents, but so many parents are checked out or disinterested. As a parent, you have so much power that you don't realize you have.

LeicaM6guy111 karma

I'm curious about your level of authority in this situation. Is the principle considered your supervisor (for lack of a better word?) Are you in a position where you can simply say "No, I'm not going to do that?"

LookAtMeImAnSRO351 karma

Good question, and another frustrating issue. Technically, under our agreement with the district, I am described as a liason from the PD who works out of the school, in partnership with the administrative team. I can, under our contract, tell the principal to pound sand (which I did once, keep reading).

In practive, the principal tells you to do things, and you either do them and keep the principal happy, or tell them no, and you'll soon find yourself booted out of the school (regardless of whether or not you were right) and back in patrol.

I told me principal no once. She wanted a kid arrested, I shit you not, because she wouldn't take off her hat. I said no. The principal lost her shit, started screaming at me to get the kid out of the building, so I walked the student out and took her home.

The kid was fucked up. Unwanted by her mother, dropped into the grandmother's lap, grandma didn't want her, and the principal had a grudge against her because she was mouthy and a troublemaker, but never anything serious. If you stopped to talk to her, you'd find out she was a nice girl (dumb as a box of rocks, but nice).

Principal called a meeting and threatened to fire me for it. I told her I'm the police, and I decide who gets arrested and who doesn't. She hit me with, "I don't think you respect me," "I don't think you believe I know what I'm doing," "I don't trust you," "You're defiant," etc and I've been on thin ice ever since.

One day I'm going to be kicked out of here, it's just a matter of time.

Random832207 karma

The principal lost her shit, started screaming at me

Isn't that disorderly conduct? I mean, I can't think of a better way to make it absolutely clear that she's not your boss.

LookAtMeImAnSRO153 karma

I wish! I dream of the day... haha!

tacstix79 karma

What would happen if you arrested her for that?

LookAtMeImAnSRO166 karma

Good question, I imagine it'd be a fucking shitstorm

LeicaM6guy52 karma

It sounds like a minefield. Does your boss have your back, if push comes to shove?

I'll be completely honest and say that I'm so happy I didn't grow up today - the idea of metal detectors and police officers in my high school seems so completely foreign to me. Of course, I grew up in a very rural/suburban school - but even they now have both.

LookAtMeImAnSRO77 karma

The PD has my back, yes. They've given me full reign to quit whenever I've had enough.

I'm 32 and we had an SRO in my high school. White, suburban, no issues, high income school, but we had one. I couldn't tell you the guy's name and he never said one word to me the time I was there, hell, I don't even remember what he looked like.

TDFCTR48 karma

I just want to say we had an awesome SRO. I didn't interact with him much, but it seems everybody liked and respected him. He lifted weights with us in gym, played some off-duty bball with us and some other teachers, and built some great rapport all around.

My favorite story is when he had gone along with a senior prank. He put 3 (smart but not risk averse) seniors in handcuffs and took them to the principal's office. It was a couple weeks before graduation, and he told her that he had to arrest them for drug possession. One of them was the even the superintendent's son. She cried with joy when they revealed it was all a farce.

Anyways, I think he had a great time as an SRO, I hope you can get an experience like that too.

LookAtMeImAnSRO36 karma

Sounds like he was doing the job right!

Random83221 karma

The PD has my back, yes. They've given me full reign to quit whenever I've had enough.

And what happens next? Does the principal get to shop around for someone who will arrest kids on their say-so?

LookAtMeImAnSRO50 karma

The position would open back up, cops could send in letters of interest, the school district (principal, superintendent, a couple others) and PD leadership would have another meaningless interview and pick a replacement.

Unfortunately, I was the only applicant for this position so if it vacated and nobody put in, I'm not sure what they'd do.

Thementalrapist85 karma

Here's the thing, I agree with what you're saying, but the bottom line is problem kids shouldn't be in public schools, when I was a kid you could get expelled and that was it. Now because of the IDEA act you can't get rid of problem kids, so the schools are just stuck with a never ending cycle of bullshit with some of these kids. And before I get down voted reddit, it isn't the schools job to "deal" with your child properly, or the SRO's job to discipline them. It's the parents job to raise a child that respects authority and becomes a successful human being later in life. I saw the same video everyone else did and it was extremely excessive, but the first thing that came to mind was why was the cop there in the first place, if the student hadn't been disruptive, had left the class and followed directions, followed the directions of the police officer none of this would've happened, there's literally an entire chain of fuck ups and chances this kid had to deal with the situation properly.

LookAtMeImAnSRO101 karma

I absolutely agree with you. Most problems with students stop and end at the parents.

There are many kids at this school who aren't here to learn and never will be, and at a certain point we are just here as state mandated babysitting.

Nobody is really innocent in this situation. The school cocked up, the student is a jerkoff, the cop used too much force, and I'm willing to hedge a bet her parents are checked out.

Not-that-berto14 karma

This sums it up so damn well. People are fending both sides blindly without thinking that maybe the kid in the news is just as at fault as the cop who went too far. As is the school that put them both in a situation that was bound to go badly.

HoratioReddacted23 karma

Disagree. We fucked up, we as a society. It is unreasonable and entirely counter to reality to expect that every parent will raise their kids to be decent people or be decent themselves to anyone even their kids. Sorry, that is how it is. But while we identify "problem kids" we do little if anuthing to help, we often punish which just makes it worse. Instead, those kids should be targeted for resources, counseling, social workers, tutors, money for better food, clothes, etc. Instead we do little to none of those things, punish the kids, blame the parents, and then act surprised when by high school they have become lost cases...

LookAtMeImAnSRO14 karma

Instead, those kids should be targeted for resources, counseling, social workers, tutors, money for better food, clothes, etc.

This happens. Shitloads of money and resources are absolutely poured into "problem" kids and it makes barely a dent.

TheCatfaceMeowmers45 karma

Why are all of the students still in the room in the first place during situations such as the one that went viral?! I am an educator and my school practices deescalation. If a student refuses to leave a room you ask the rest of the class to leave instead. This makes the room a safer place for everyone involved. My school is full of emotionally disturbed students and when they start to have large reactions and many people are around they often become embarrassed and this escalates the situation. By leaving a room full of students exposed to that kind of anger puts them in physical danger. And like you said, if the SRO can't get the student out they are perceived as being weak. Ask the class to leave and you are ensuring the privacy of the student involved, your own privacy and the safety of the class.

LookAtMeImAnSRO45 karma

I had a teacher come to me the morning after the news broke and that's what he told me, he said if that'd happen in his class he would send the class out. I hadn't heard of that strategy before. But it makes a lot of sense. Of course, this teacher had never needed to call for a kid to be removed. Many teachers will never call, whether it be skill or pride, and some call all the time. I like the former better than the latter.

Throwaway1234564939733 karma

I created a throwaway because this is something that has always bothered me. First of all, thanks for doing the AMA. Now to my frustration: I think a lot of problems with cops stem from this fear of losing respect or authority. But here's the thing I guess I don't get: YOU represent the LAW. You should have exactly as much authority as the law gives you, no more and no less. I think it would be an amazing teaching moment to be in the situation you describe where a student just doesn't want to leave and just stop. Explain to the teacher and the students why you can't do anything else. It might be uncomfortable for you, some kids might take it as an invitation to disrespect you in the future. But the thing is, they have that right. It might make your job harder but you didn't become a cop because it was easy I'm guessing. You, and they, would be following the law. And you'd have every right to step in the second one of them broke one the the MANY laws we have in this county. My brother, who was a cop, always told me that the respect thing is about safety, if you aren't respected and feared you are less safe, but does that mean that your safety is more important than the law? Or the rights of those you serve?

LookAtMeImAnSRO59 karma

No need to have a throwaway. You're not wrong. But a teachable moment couldn't happen in that situation. All eyes are on you and that student, you couldn't just stop and have a breakdown of what the law is and what it isn't.

Truthfully, you can remove a kid from class physically under the law. I'm not breaking a law by pulling him out. What I am doing, and this is worse in my opinion, is creating a violation where there was no need. If someone called me on pulling that kid out, my defense would be that he was violating the disorderly conduct statute. Part of that statute is this phrase: Actions which serve no legitimate purpose and cause public inconvenience, annoyance, and alarm or create a risk thereof.

If you're reading that and say to yourself, holy shit that could be almost anything, you're not wrong. But again, I'd be creating a disorderly conduct violation and perpetuating the school to prison pipeline, which is the exact thing I'm there to prevent.

RegularOwl4 karma

Could it instead be done under a trespassing statute? I don't know if that would be better or worse, though.

LookAtMeImAnSRO7 karma

Worse, but yeah you could potentially go that route

roadtoruin7830 karma

I also feel bad for school cops because these "children" can be a 16 year old, 6+ ft. tall 230lb. football player. A kid that size is a grown man. What do you do? But everyone will love to use the headline "Cop tasers child"

LookAtMeImAnSRO35 karma

Headlines are more fun than unbiased news reporting! Wheeee!

Jedi_Outcast26 karma

I think it's because no one at schools really have any authority to discipline the kids.

And the kids know it.

LookAtMeImAnSRO31 karma

I think that's mostly true. If you don't really care about the punishments, which are just varying types of "go home" then why not call the schools bluff? They try that with the SROs though and run into problems...

sigmabody3 karma

I watched the video, and I don't have much of a problem with the SRO's actions. I agree with you that the SRO should not have been called, but I totally understand where you're coming from: you don't have many options to do your job at the point of confrontation. Sure, he could have been less violent about it, but at that point he needed to physically remove the student (I'd have probably just taken the whole desk too, but I can understand why that might not be the training procedure).

That said, detaining the other student for filming the incident is inexcusable, and he should be fired and prosecuted for that action. The only way we can change the LE/paramilitary mindset and procedure system is to expose the actions, and let the public decide if they are appropriate. Cops (or pseudo-cops) who attempt to illegally hide their actions from public scrutiny should be presumed guilty, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

LookAtMeImAnSRO5 karma

I didn't know another student was arrested for filming. I agree, not acceptable.

HellFireOmega1 karma

Just pick the little shit up and toss him on your shoulder? If they wanna throw a tantrum like a little kid, they can be treated like one too.

LookAtMeImAnSRO10 karma

I've done that. Kid went across the street during arrivals and got a 2x4 after a dust up with another kid, started coming back and I snatched him up, threw his shitty stick and carried him into the building. Deposited him in the APs office and was like, "here you go, call me if you need me" and rolled out like a boss

cactusflower41 karma

My question is why isn't the protocol to have the child's parent come and take care of the issue? Even if the parent isn't necessarily a great parent, wouldn't it be better to have the child and parent hash it out instead of sending in an officer?

LookAtMeImAnSRO3 karma

Well the parent is always called. But they usually can't come in, at least in a timely enough fashion to address the immediate issue. But I'll tell you, sometimes the admin leaves the building for meetings or whatever and I'm literally the only motherfucker in any sort of administrative "control" which is obviously ridiculous but there you go, anyway, I'll wield parents if the kid is being quiet and not disruptive. Why not if you have the time? If it's an emergency obviously immediate intervention is needed but if I can get or buy time yeah, I make the parents show up (stating that their kid is at risk of arrest if they don't is a good motivator, true or not)

LookAtMeImAnSRO15 karma

Voluntary, and any training must be asked for and applied for by the SRO; and could potentially be denied for reasons such as cost or manpower (i.e. They don't want you gone for a week to attend a training)

BoomResearch26 karma

Hi! I have a lot of good memories from the SRO at my school- he was an amazing guy, with the small failing that he flirted intensely with the (older) girls. He ended up getting one pregnant, quiting the force, marrying her and raising the kid, which to be honest is pretty much the best possible outcome for that kind of situation. Does that sort of thing happen, and is there any real recourse for it?

LookAtMeImAnSRO15 karma

I've never heard of it happening, but I suppose it's possible. Could be disciplined in-department as conduct unbecoming and booted out of the school; I would think.

BlorfMonger19 karma

When i was in school, the rumor was the school cop got school duty because he was either a lousy cop or did something to get 'bumped down' to that position.

Is that an actual thing? or did you choose to be a middle school cop?

LookAtMeImAnSRO25 karma

I've never heard of an SRO being placed involuntarily. When a spot opens, we submit a letter of interest and then interview in from of district and police department admin. I was the only one who put in for this position.

digger_ex_pat18 karma

Do you receive any special training other than normal police training?

LookAtMeImAnSRO37 karma

Only things I've asked for. I attended a 5 day basic SRO course about 6 months after I started but I had to ask for it and apply for the grant to pay for it.

II-Scum16 karma

When I was in middle school I always said hi to our SRO and he would always smile and say hi back and eventually asked for my name and would always greet me and asked how my day was going. It always made me happy.

Do you ever go out of your way to learn some kids names and remember to say hi to them every time you see them?

LookAtMeImAnSRO25 karma

Absolutely. I get sad sometimes because the truth is that I know all the kids' names that cause trouble and not enough of the ones that don't.

During my downtime, I try to pull random kids out of class up to my office just to bullshit around, see what they like to do, what classes they like, how are things at home, shit like that. I think the end result will be that they'll trust me more, tell me problems happening I might not know about, have a better opinion of police, and shit, just feel better because someone at school is talking to them without making it an "official" thing.

Fun fact, I got told to stop doing that because test scores are down and kids can't be missing class to cock around with me. I can only pull kids out of their "specials," (computer lab, gym, art, etc) which many of them don't want to do because those are the fun classes.

II-Scum11 karma

Thanks for being that good guy the kids can look up to.

Also follow up. Are you told about a student that was suspended/told to leave school? Do you keep an eye out for them when they try to make it back onto campus?

LookAtMeImAnSRO18 karma

Yes, one of my functions is to keep suspended/expelled kids off campus. This is a function I agree with, because it is actually a legal issue and a criminal violation to come to a school after you've been instructed not to.

OzymandiasKoK8 karma

Err...cock around with you?

Just hassling you, from all your answers you seem professional, caring, and wanting to help.

LookAtMeImAnSRO11 karma

I have a colorful vernacular, and thank you for the compliment

OzymandiasKoK4 karma

Hey, I thought cocking around was bad, but this bringing up your vernacular business is really going beyond the pale. For shame!

LookAtMeImAnSRO4 karma

This exchange has been my fave part of this ama

NAbsentia14 karma

Reading your answers, I get the sense you are the kind of person we need in law enforcement. How often do you find yourself frustrated, not by reasonable policy, but by the cultural, nearly cultish, tendency of cops and others in authority to support one another even when dead wrong? Is this why you wanted to train for another gig?

LookAtMeImAnSRO33 karma

It doesn't really bother me. It's not overt, the "culture" is pretty behind the scenes. We don't talk about it day to day, we just work and go home like normal people.

I wanted to leave, and still want to leave, because I never wanted to be a cop. I got the job because I needed a job after college, and my resume was thus: made pizzas, joined Marines, went to war, went to college, the end. Not a lot of experience to do anything else, and I had a wife who wanted a house and kids and she wanted them right the fuck now.

Being a cop is great in the sense that it's a steady job, good paycheck, great benefits, hard to be fired, good amount of vacation time. And the work isn't bad, I like the chasing and action bits (war vet, we like that shit) and I like the investigative bits. And now in my current job, I like the community relations bits.

I don't like administrations. I don't like being stereotyped for my job. I don't like watching other cops on TV being cockbags and making my job harder. I don't like the politics and the cliqueness and the fact that I have very little in common with my coworkers (I get along fabulously with the school staff, though). I'm tired of fighting and carrying a gun and wearing a vest. I want to go to the beach and write and be left alone, which will never happen, which is sad.

justscottaustin11 karma

How long ago did you graduate from the academy? Specifically, do you feel that when you were there the academies were teaching as much of an "us vs. them," mentality as they appear to be doing now? How do you feel about the acquisition (and use) of military equipment by police departments?

LookAtMeImAnSRO23 karma

I graduated in 2009. Emphasis was always on serving the community, but with an "us first" emphasis; i.e. We go home at the end of the day no matter what (a concept which in an ideal world isn't really true).

As a former marine I appreciate the acquisition of additional equipment and frankly would like to have a weapon locker with a rifle at the school in the event of an armed intruder; but that will never happen for various reasons, many of which are understandable.

I think, however, that the equipment must be applied smartly and appropriately and not used as toys to show how big your cop Weiner is.

CertainDuck8 karma

No OP, but I have a few follow up questions regarding the "us vs them" thinking that doesn't just pertain to SRO but the police as a whole.

Do you ever think that mentality will end?

How harmful is that way of thinking when applied to real life situations?

Are cops who rat out other cops for being corrupt/abusing power treated differently?

Are they praised for cleaning up the system or shunned for "betraying a brother in blue"?

I'm sorry for so many questions. I'm just really curious as to how this way of thinking affects the community.

LookAtMeImAnSRO12 karma

Man you've got me typing out an essay here, haha! I'll do my best to answer.

Do you ever think that mentality will end?

Probably not. Not everyone is going to like the people who's duty it is to arrest them. We can minimize the social impact through things like body cams and community relations, but you're never going to get everyone.

Are cops who rat out other cops for being corrupt/abusing power treated differently?

Yes, but the reality is more complicated than that. In a small department (we have 70 people) we already know who the jackasses are. And there are cops who won't like you for a slew of reasons, for example, try being an outed homosexual. Or a liberal. Or an atheist. Make enemies, and you'll be treated differently no matter what.

It's like high school. Cliques form. There are outcasts. People who won't get special duties, who aren't popular, don't get invited to group things, shit like that. It's not like we go to the "rats" house and burn it to the ground. People just won't like him.

HoboSnacks5 karma


LookAtMeImAnSRO7 karma

Truthfully most people shouldn't be cops

CertainDuck4 karma

So high school never really ends, you just start doing different stuff instead of going to class but the cliques are all the same. I just graduated so that's something to look forward to :/

But seriously, thanks for answering!

LookAtMeImAnSRO7 karma

The Marine Corps was the same way! And the teacher staff at the school is the same way. I think that's just an unfortunate part of life...

b00b00kittie11 karma

What's the scariest thing you've found on a student, additionally, what's the funniest?

LookAtMeImAnSRO21 karma

Honestly I don't do many searches, they're sort of taboo for the most part and we try not to do them without good cause. I've pulled a decent amount of knives off of kids but nothing else of consequence.

Funniest? Man that's a tough one. These kids will bring anything and everything to school. Rooting through their stuff is like rooting through a trash can, you're liable to find anything and it probably smells like a dirty foot. I've found soiled underpants before, that was a little unfortunate.

b00b00kittie11 karma

Were they make or female underpants and did the gender of the person match the underpants. Lol

LookAtMeImAnSRO13 karma

Female, and yes they matched.

diftuv9 karma

Hi there, thanks for taking the time to do this AMA. It's great to see a police officer being so open and transparent.

My issue isn't so much with SROs specifically as the current climate for police officers in general. Given how much additional scrutiny is being placed on police right now, do you feel that situations like the one you referenced in this AMA are more or less likely to occur?

As a follow-up, how do you feel about body cams for police?

LookAtMeImAnSRO13 karma

Surprised it took this long for someone to ask about body cams. Studies show that body cams reduce citizen complaints by a comically huge amount, so much so that any argument against the body cams are essentially invalidated.

Having said that, it's not a catch all solution. When is the camera on? Who pays for it? Where's the money come from? Is it on all the time, and if so, what about when I'm taking a piss or arguing with my wife on the phone? How does it interact with wiretap and audio recording laws?

Just things to consider, but none of those are enough to invalidate body cams as a good idea.

diftuv3 karma

As far as the funding issue goes, I know that's probably the biggest issue right now, but also the one I think matters the least. I feel like with as good of an idea as body cams obviously are, it should be up to the politicians to figure out how to get the money for them - but it should absolutely be done.

The privacy issue for the cops (i.e. the camera being on when you're taking a piss) is another good one, but I feel like police offiicers, or civil servants in general, have to give up some of those privacy rights when they're on the job anyway.

WifeyP7 karma

An easy solution for this would simply be for the cops to be able to pause the camera, with the pause switch automatically capturing a still shot of what was in front of it at the time of the pause and also sending the time of pause and time of resume (along with another still shot) to the police station or whereever. Yes, a cop could pause the camera if things started escalating in order to use malicious force, but the still shot and pause/unpause times would still reflect a bit of what happened in that situation and provide a bit of credibility. This way, policemen wouldn't have to have their cameras on during restroom visits and the like.

LookAtMeImAnSRO28 karma

I'm going to be honest, I'd leave mine on when I was whizzing. Make the supervisors look at my dong. Fuck em.

suclearnub9 karma

What are some problems that you have encountered / encounter daily?

LookAtMeImAnSRO32 karma

Regarding students or the district? Because the district admin is worse than the students.

I'm in a middle school, and I've often said that middle school is a fucked up time because the kids are old enough to know how to be cruel but young enough not to understand the consequences of it. So they're absolutely horrible to each other. Bullying, especially on social media, is rampant. Disrespect to authority is the norm. Nobody cares about or respects their school and they rarely care about each other.

Most days you'll have several instances of bullying reports, maybe a fight or two (arrival and dismissal are the two common times for fights) and rarely an incident requiring police intervention. It's a lot of "stop throwing pencils at Billy," and, "Don't call people names," and, "Don't talk about your private parts to girls," and, "Don't take people's stuff." Etc. Etc.

BlindGuyMcSqueezy69 karma

What's your perspective on the level of force that was used on that girl?

What should we (the American public) expect SROs to do when school children blatantly disobey police authority? (Basically asking you to set an appropriate expectation so we have a better understanding of what's acceptable)

LookAtMeImAnSRO18 karma

I don't have all the info. I don't know why she was being removed in the first place, and I wasn't standing in that cop's shoes. Was it the girl who flung herself back and out of the chair or did the cop throw her?

First glance, he overdid it. There's another reply I did where I broke it down in more detail, you should check it out, but yeah, short version is he overdid it.

I think the backlash was a little overdone too, but I'm glad the Sheriff's office was smart enough to call in a third party to investigate. I hope they investigate, and I'm interested to see the results.

I've talked a lot here about how school's utilize SRO's. If an SRO is applying authority it should be because a student is being arrested. That is often not the case, and that's where people get jammed up.

If a student is being arrested, and resists, the truth is there is a level of force that can and should be applied. As with any use of force, it should be reasonable and appropriate within the context of the situation.

There is no catch-all answer for use of force cases, and people always want one. Bottom line is, if you're being arrested, expect to have some level of appropriate force applied. Even for children. If you as a school don't want someone arrested, don't call the cops on them.

IA_Kcin4 karma

As someone who is normally pretty unforgiving about an officer's actions, I'd give the officer a pass on everything up through the chair falling over backwards. The toss towards the front of the classroom on the other hand, was unacceptable.

LookAtMeImAnSRO12 karma

That was the kicker for me too and really colors everything prior to that badly. He could argue his way out of everything else, i.e. "She threw herself backwards, wasn't my fault," but how do you justify dragging/throwing her across the floor? Makes everything that happened prior to look like his fault, too, because it demonstrates a degree of malice.

team_fondue8 karma

Reading your answers, it seems like a lot of the problems are not caused by the students, but by administrators putting unreasonable expectations on everyone involved (especially you). I also feel like they sound so goal focused they ignore the concepts that many of these kids are in traumatic environments, and they are expressing their needs being unmet.

Now for the question: do you think having all educators (especially administrators) instructed in aggression control methods like SAMA (http://satorilearning.com/ - this is the one I know from foster training) or another tool (a couple of options here, there are systems out of TCU and other schools) would be useful to help them understand how to talk kids out of a problematic situation instead of sending in the SRO, who probably should be focused on larger threats and improving community relations?

LookAtMeImAnSRO9 karma

My answer would be no, it would not help, because they don't send me because they're incompetent, they send me because they're lazy.

Many times when a teacher calls down for a student problem the vice principal does in fact go address it himself (never, ever the principal though). But if he's not in, or he's busy, it's me. Every time.

overyourrainbow8 karma

Are you pretty much on your own as an SRO or do the SROs in a department/area discuss things together, compare strategies for dealing with challenges?

LookAtMeImAnSRO16 karma

We have four SRO's in the district, one at each middle school and one at the high school. We very rarely meet, which is unfortunate, but we do see each other at a monthly meeting which is actually for juvenile probation office, but we attend.

We do converse frequently, as problems tend to cross over from school to school. Having said that, some of my fellow SRO's are... less than helpful.

krepitus7 karma

I workout with an SRO, and he talks about the signs of abuse he sees. We live in a small town, and sometimes he'll mention a name, he shouldn't I know but it just slips out. Sometimes I'll know the parent. Once I offered to give the dad a trimming. I knew him, knew where he drank, we went to school together and he's always been an asshole. My buddy got very angry very quickly. "You aren't Arnold and this isn't a movie. What do you think will happen to that kid if you beat up his father?" I felt like the asshole then. I thought I was being Billy Badass Superhero, but he's the one that has to see that shit every day, and NOT go ballistic. How do you guys deal with that?

LookAtMeImAnSRO11 karma

Detachment and alcohol works for me

ShockdaMonkee6 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. It's been one of the most interesting I've seen so far. What would you do to change public perception of police officers, especially regarding children? Does it bother you when you hear parents tell their kids they are going to have you take them to jail for "acting up"?

LookAtMeImAnSRO4 karma

Yeah parents telling kids well lock them up is frustrating. No cop I've talked to likes that shit. What can you say though? Well... A few guys have turned around and been like, "No, we won't lock you up little buddy" and I imagine the parent probably gets annoyed but oh well

imonreddittoo6 karma

Are the use of force rules different for a school assignment than they are for a regular patrol? If so, how are they different?

LookAtMeImAnSRO22 karma

Technically no, but under the law any force applied must be "reasonable and appropriate." I think a reasonable person applying that standard to an adult vs 100 lbs kid would see that context is different instead of an adult.

And while it's not "rules" there are factors to be considered. You want families and students to feel safe, roughing up children even if justified works against that.

LookAtMeImAnSRO4 karma

Hey everyone, I'm done! Peace and love, thanks for the good times, I'll miss you all.

fikis4 karma

Hey, brother.

First, thanks for doing this, and for approaching these questions (and your job, to judge from your replies) thoughtfully and critically.

Here's my question:

Why is it seemingly so difficult to find people like yourself in your chosen line of work? That is, why do so many cops seem to be averse to any sort of self-reflection? Why do they seem to take such exception to being held accountable (ie, the FBI director's assertion that the phone-camera thing is 'causing' the increase in violent crime)?

Are these issues having to do with training (ie, the 'us vs them' thing), or does the profession attract a certain 'type', or are there other contributing factors? It just feels like we've strayed pretty far from 'Protect and Serve' as the ethos, you know?

Any guesses?

Again, thank you for taking the time to do this, for doing your job well, AND for your thoughtful opinions. It's all greatly appreciated.

LookAtMeImAnSRO22 karma

Honest opinion in a nutshell: They're dumb. Literally, like lack intelligence dumb. You should read some of these police reports. They sound like a 12 year old wrote them, misspelled words, bad grammar, you name it.

Not all of them are like this. Most guys are genuine dudes. Many of them are reflective, especially the younger generation. But many of them are also jaded. The street is tough, you see some shit, people spit on you, fight you, curse at you, just for your uniform. It can warp your perception. Soon you start to see the whole community as the bad guy, when it's just a handful (the same is true for people's opinions of cops, ironically).

It's also police culture (again, mirroring urban culture in many ways) where they're just so goddamn convinced they're right. It's not about cruelty, it's not about malice, it's almost as if they feel like the minute they admit that shit, maybe we're wrong, the whole thing will fall apart. And maybe it will, but maybe that's good.

fikis10 karma

Jesus Christ.

Honesty. Self-reflection. Critical thinking. Actual insight.

Not a single appeal to authority.

Clone yourself, dude, and mail them to PDs all over the world.

If you walk it half as well as you talk it, we need about 100k more of you.

...and thanks for answering my questions.


LookAtMeImAnSRO4 karma

Thanks homie

Katrar6 karma

Your attitudes towards law enforcement as a profession, and your job in particular, are refreshingly pragmatic and reality-based. How have you been able to resist losing that spark and becoming another jaded "formerly reflective" police officer.

Are you just naturally resistant to the slow march towards an us-vs-them mentality, or has your SRO posting helped in some way to stall that transition? You seem to genuinely like the kids.

LookAtMeImAnSRO23 karma

I came to the school for selfish reasons. I didn't like the police department. I don't generally like other cops, I find them to often be unpleasant people (not all of them, many of my best and closest friends are cops). I wanted a way to get out, I wanted to go back to school at night, which I couldn't do with a cop schedule (I didn't end up doing that anyway), and get a different job.

When I came to the school, I found the kids to be obnoxious, loud, frustrating, and any other adjective you could apply. But over time, I started to get to know them as tiny people, with real problems and interests and shit, I say something funny and they laugh and someone draws me a nice picture or writes me a note and it slays you, man.

I keep a drawer in my desk where I keep all my thank you notes and sometimes when I've had enough I pull it open and I read it and I keep going. These kids aren't criminals, they're victims. Victims of poverty, circumstance, bad parenting, shitty schools, just fucking life. If I can help them, if I can protect them, then I will till I run out of gas and keel over and quit.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm jaded from the street. I can feel racism creeping up on me, thoughts that pop in my head when I'm out in my daily life, that I never had before patrol work. I just keep trying to remind myself that everyone deserves to be treated with respect, no matter how much you despise them and no matter how much you want to punch them in the face (or did punch them in the face, circumstances permitting).

snap_wilson4 karma

First, thanks for sharing all of this. It's something most people don't really think about and your answers should be read and considered by people in both academia and law enforcement. This was a great AMA and it deserves more attention.

And since I'm required to ask a question: Have you forged any connections with the students at your school?

LookAtMeImAnSRO12 karma

Absolutely. I'll give you one example, but I could give you many.

I had a fifth grader the first year I came here, a little black girl from a rough family that had lots of run ins with police throughout the year. When she would see me in the hallway, just see me from across a hallway, she would start crying hysterically.

These days, she asks me to walk her home sometimes after school because some of the kids bully her. That's a pretty big 180.

ScannerBrightly4 karma

When I was in middle school (late 80's) I got into a lot of fights because I was a "nerd". In the hall, after class, at lunch, I would get punched, kicked, made fun of, etc. all the time.

School policy was "if there was a fight, both people are in trouble." What do you think of that policy? What would be a better one? How can one defend oneself from an attack and not be faulted for being part of a fight?

LookAtMeImAnSRO5 karma

Great question, that same policy still exists and even worse, it's also the law. In my state you have what's called a "duty to retreat" which basically means that unless it's an exceptional circumstance fighting back invalidates your status as a victim.

My dad coached me to fight back in school, so I did and I got suspended... Often. I'm amazed that they never just outright expelled me. I have parents Come into the school furious their kid got suspended when he was the one being bullied and I always have to give them the party line: whether I agree with it personally or not law and policy is law and policy. Sorry.

Slug_DC3 karma

  1. Are your SRO duties pretty much the whole of your job, or when school is let out do you jump in your car and go off to do other "normal" police stuff?

  2. I imagine that there is a lot of downtime in the SRO role. Hours in the day when you aren't necessarily being called to engage anyone in an official capacity. How do you pass the time? How do you entertain yourself while all that learning is afoot?

  3. "Gun Free Zone"s. Yay or nay? Do you think they help, hinder, or have no effect either way on school safety?

Thanks for being there for our kids. :)

LookAtMeImAnSRO8 karma

1.Are your SRO duties pretty much the whole of your job, or when school is let out do you jump in your car and go off to do other "normal" police stuff?

SRO stuff is mostly it. Days when the school is not in session (during the week) for example, Thanksgiving, spring break, etc. I can either report for patrol duty or use a PTO day, which are limited. During the summer I am assigned to our police department's COPE unit, or Community Oriented Police Engagement, which sounds very fancy but is not that exciting.

2.I imagine that there is a lot of downtime in the SRO role. Hours in the day when you aren't necessarily being called to engage anyone in an official capacity. How do you pass the time? How do you entertain yourself while all that learning is afoot?

Well, it depends. My predecessor watched a lot of netflix. Personally I try to fill it with productive shit. Today I slacked off and did this AMA all day, which is probably not what I should've been doing but I did it anyway.

I'll do meeting with students, work on any paperwork I need to catch up on, touch base with parents if need be, sit in on the lunches, check the building for safety (mostly walk around and make sure all the doors are locked), answer the admin's requests as needed. Occassionally I get to teach a class on shit like why you shouldn't carry BB guns that look like guns (i.e. don't be Tamir Rice knuckleheads), how to use the 911 system, shit like that. I wish they let me do it more, I really enjoy teaching. I have a bunch of lesson plans made up for all sorts of shit I never get to do.

3."Gun Free Zone"s. Yay or nay? Do you think they help, hinder, or have no effect either way on school safety?

No effect, but it makes people feel warm and fuzzy.

MordIV3 karma

Based on some of your replies, I have to ask: why don't you quit and become a teacher? While it may be a pay cut, you'd get the summers off and be able to do something you enjoy more.

LookAtMeImAnSRO5 karma

I answered that same question elsewhere, I wanted to be a teacher for a long time actually. Was going to use the Troops to Teachers federal program to do it. But after watching the teachers at my school, how they're treated by the students and by the admin, how restricted they are in how much the state and district mandates and standardizes their teaching, how many unpaid overtime hours they put in... really turned me off the whole thing.

I love teaching, standing in front of people and running my fat mouth and hoping they enjoyed it and learned something. I don't like the institution of teaching.

spicypepperoni3 karma

Do you deal with traffic enforcement around the school before, during, and after school?

LookAtMeImAnSRO6 karma

Not really, no. I'm IPMBA (read: police bicycle) certified so I hop on my bike and ride around making sure the kids are getting home safe.

PianoConcertoNo23 karma

You talk about wanting to get a different job - what other jobs are you interested in doing?

LookAtMeImAnSRO5 karma

I wanted to teach until I came here... I still love teaching, but watching what the staff teachers deal with from admin, the state, standardized testing, unpaid overtime, you name it, turned me off of it.

I've always wanted to write full time. I think I'd like to do that.

expenguination3 karma

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.

  1. Does this AMA fall within your expected duties for community engagement, or would you be disciplined if your coworkers/superiors found out?

  2. Do you remember what you were like in middle school and does that impact how you do your job?

LookAtMeImAnSRO4 karma

1) disciplined, which is why I did this anonymously

2) middle school was terrible and a low point of my life. I try to remember the silent pain I endured and that I have 550 kids beating that same pain.

CueCueQQ3 karma

I'm sure everyone else wants to talk about the girl getting removed, but I'm a bit more interested in the longer media attention with schools. How much preparation do you have to responding to an active shooter? Do you feel like you have adequate training for an active shooter considering how unlikely you are to encounter an active shooter? Do you have any tactical info you'd want officers responding to an active shooter to know(something like a 150 yard hallway that would require a long gun to traverse)? How would you get that info to a responding officer, especially if he's not someone local to the area(example being someone transporting a prisoner to another county or evidence by hand).

LookAtMeImAnSRO5 karma

Great question and a topic which I'm very passionate about, but I'm on my phone temporarily and I don't want to give you a cheap answer so I'll come back to this one

LookAtMeImAnSRO4 karma

Alright let's hammer this out.

How much preparation do you have to responding to an active shooter?

I was heavily, heavily trained in MOUT (military operations in urban terrain) in the USMC, the basic principles of which apply to really any building-based combat scenario. I was very good at it too, to the point where I was going to be certified as a MOUT instructor (until the deployments got in the way). The police department has also run a few departmental active shooter trainings, with force on force scenarios and drills in old, unused buildings. I'm pretty well versed on it.

Do you feel like you have adequate training for an active shooter considering how unlikely you are to encounter an active shooter?

Well... even though I just said all that shit above here, I have very little training (well, zero really) on how to do all that crap alone. All of our drills and training are team or squad based. The same principles apply, theoretically, but I have no practical application on it.

There is a really well reviewed program called ALICE (http://www.alicetraining.com/) and they run a single-man active shooter response training program designed for SRO's or similar personnel. I'd really like to go someday, but it's very costly and the chance of the PD and school district ponying up are about zilcho, nada, negatory. A man can dream.

Do you have any tactical info you'd want officers responding to an active shooter to know(something like a 150 yard hallway that would require a long gun to traverse)?

I've requested that the police department do trainings at my school after hours, nothing major, just walkthroughs or quick drills so that officers are familiar with the layout, entrances and exits, and danger areas. But, the basic response to paraphrase is, "Ain't nobody got time for dat."

When I'm freaking the fuck out on the radio yelling for backup because I have a shooter on the upstairs floor on the north side near the stairwell I'd like to think that the responding officer has the slightest fucking clue where the hell that is. The reality is they probably don't. That's sad.

While I'm on my soapbox, there was an SRO who got kicked the fuck out of one of the other middle schools some years back. He was a bit of a know-it-all prick, the kids liked him, but the adults did not. He wanted to modernize and standardize the district's safety plans to fall in line with FEMA and other federal guidelines. He spent months putting together massive, detailed maps, strategies, plans, drills, you name it.

You know what the district did with it? Nothing. Then they ejected him because he was making too many waves, and spending too much time doing district safety stuff than paying attention to his assigned school. So that's kind of a bummer.

The PD doesn't even have a way into the fucking schools in the first place. They don't have a key. Someone either has to open the door to let them in, or they bash it down, or they wait for the fire department to show up and open the knox box for them (which is only at the front door, so GG).

How would you get that info to a responding officer, especially if he's not someone local to the area(example being someone transporting a prisoner to another county or evidence by hand).

County radio would put my broadcast on countywide emergency if a shooting occurred and everyone everywhere would hear everything I had to say.

hotprof2 karma

Thanks for doing this. I'd like to know what your thoughts are on how the police officer in the video handled the situation.

And, to follow up, when I was in high school, a disruptive student would usually leave voluntarily upon being asked. Some would even be disruptive in order to be dismissed. Never have I seen someone refuse to leave and continue being disruptive. So, what do you do when the student absolutely refuses to leave and continues to disrupt the learning of their classmates?

LookAtMeImAnSRO5 karma

Answered those elsewhere in the thread! Thank you for the question though!

[deleted]2 karma


LookAtMeImAnSRO34 karma

Well this is the obvious question for this AMA, so let's get into it.

First of all, I'm not 100% on the context of why she was being removed from class in the first place. The million dollar question is, was it for a school infraction or a criminal infraction, because that makes a world of difference.

When I've been asked to remove kids, I typically try to talk them out. I use whatever verbal leverage I have, oftentimes because I know them "fairly" well as the kids being removed tend to be the same kids over and over. I try to push the buttons I think will get them out. Hell, I'll sit on their desk and annoy them out if need be.

If that's not possible, I do a "touch test." I'll put my hand on their shoulder, or possibly gently grab their upper arm and give them a firm command to leave. Gauge their reaction. If they flip the fuck out, well, you've got to react appropriately within the context, the goal being 1) they don't hurt others, 2) they don't hurt themselves, and 3) they don't hurt you. In that order.

Being substantially larger than just about every kid in my school (around 240 lbs in full gear), it's not tough to simply wrap the kid up in a hug or pin them on the wall until they calm down. But again, every situation is dynamic and requires a measured response, you just have to keep your priorities straight and remember that these are kids. They're stuck in a locked building, they're not going anywhere.

Edit: Not sure why the guy deleted his question, all he asked was what I would've done differently than the SRO in the news.

BigBizzle1514 karma

was it for a school infraction or a criminal infraction

Does this change during the course of the encounter? I imagine if someone became combative it would immediately be a criminal infraction, but if someone is refusing to leave are they guilty of disturbing the peace or trespass?

LookAtMeImAnSRO11 karma

They could be criminally liable for refusing to leave, sure, but is that what we as a society really want? Why arrest kids for things that a few years ago were dealt with in the school?

The question you have to ask yourself is, if the SRO wasn't there or didn't exist, would the kid really be arrested for this? And if the answer is no, then is the SRO creating a criminal violation where there previously was none (or at best, a questionable one)?

timmymac2 karma

This is not a personal attack towards you in any way. I'm sure you could possibly be a stand up guy.

That being said, I don't think cops should be in schools.

The presence of a cop can often cause more problems.


LookAtMeImAnSRO22 karma

Studies have shown SRO's increase arrest rates in schools. This is because the SRO either sucks at his job or the school misuses him, or a combination of both. So believing you don't want cops in schools is not a bad stance to take, data backs you up.

The reality is that just about all of the functions of the SRO program could be offloaded to various entities, private and public, without having a full-time cop in a school. If your concern is armed intruders then private armed security, or training certain teachers to carry concealed weapons, or having stronger security measures in place, are all options that could replace the SRO as a first responder.

If your concern is police-student relations, a strong police department community relations unit that visits schools frequently, or even daily, to conduct presentations or just hang out at lunch would accomplish basically the same thing.

Alternatively, removing the SRO's from the school and assigning one single cop to the district admin to oversee the entire district, visiting schools regularly, is another excellent option.

TLDR yes the program is redundant and could be dismantled and outsourced. I still like the job, though, and I'm glad I'm doing it.

timmymac11 karma

You've addressed all my concerns without me even stating them. I'll bet you're good at that job. If my kid's school ever gets an SRO I'm gonna send in a transfer request to get you. Thanks for the answer.

LookAtMeImAnSRO8 karma

Hey thanks buddy, glad I could help.

fartwiffle1 karma

Have you had any training to help you work with children that have special needs? For example, a kiddo on the Autism spectrum is going to respond to things differently than a neurotypical kid.

Also, I have a general distrust for police for various reasons, but you seem like one of the good ones. Thanks for that and keep it up please. I gotta imagine the bullshit gets to you, but if you carry yourself in real life like you talk here on the internet, society needs police like you.

One of my classmates from HS got a criminal science degree and became a cop. He's a hell of a guy. Kind, genuine, caring, and funny as hell all while built like a linebacker and looking tougher than most guys in a biker gang. At first he loved being a cop because he was helping people. Then he took a gig as a sheriff deputy. The bullshit got to him quick. He couldn't stand the way some of his coworkers were treating people. He didn't feel like he was making a difference anymore. And he was sick and tired of being forced to arrest people for drug possession. He's a carpenter now, a damn good one, and much happier for it.

LookAtMeImAnSRO4 karma

I'd be a carpenter if I was mechanically inclined. My friend once asked me to move to Florida and start a farm. Almost did it.

Anyway, no I have no real training other than a couple mentions here and there at the academy and whatnot. I've tried to self-teach, especially aspergers since those kids tend to have social and thus bullying problems which inevitably land on my plate. So I take all the aspergers kids on as my projects.

callipygian10 karma

isn't there something deliciously orwellian about "school resource officer"? other than muscle and intimidation, what other resources do you bring to bear to help children learn?

LookAtMeImAnSRO2 karma

I answered that question here: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/3qk8wr/im_not_the_guy_from_the_news_but_i_am_a_school/cwfwdwg

SRO's don't really enhance "learning." We're not educators in the traditional sense. We might teach classes on police, law, or safety related issues but we don't make test scores go up. The primary number one apex function is to keep the kids safe, and the number two function is to build positive relationships.

Despite that, I also talked about how SRO's could be easily replaced here: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/3qk8wr/im_not_the_guy_from_the_news_but_i_am_a_school/cwg1wht

rnbwpnt-1 karma

Given the increasing occurrence of videos like the ones yesterday, or the Eric Garner one, or the ones of cops in riot gear pointing loaded weapons at unarmed protestors, or that guy doing a barrel roll at a birthday party in McKinney, or any of a thousand other stories and experiences, to what do you attribute police leadership mistification at community opinions of the police as part of the problem? Anybody with a brain knows that 'driving while black' is the lived experience of many people, not a statistical artifact.

Why is backlash against it so surprising to cops?

LookAtMeImAnSRO4 karma

I don't think it's surprising. I don't think anyone really thought we'd get away with the shit we were getting away with forever. Everyone I know has sort of just accepted the progression and gone along with it, whether or not they agreed or liked the direction things were headed.

ganooosh-2 karma

When a student barely touches you with an elbow that's clearly not going to harm you, do you go for a rear naked choke, pepper spray, tase them, or do you flip them over and then throw them out of their desk?

LookAtMeImAnSRO18 karma

I do all of the above and then make sure to sprinkle some crack on them.

mhrogers-3 karma

Honest question, because we always wondered this when I was in school. Our school was one of the firsts in the modern school shooting national news cycle back in 1992. Because of this, we were also one of the first to install metal detectors and make a big show of keeping guns out of schools. THEN they give us an SRO, a little 150 pound woman with a full complement of weapons to walk around the school. My question is this... what is to keep some little bastard from braining you with a brick and shooting the place up with your gun?

LookAtMeImAnSRO7 karma

Being a competent and well trained officer to avoid that circumstance from happening. Not everything is controllable, school safety like anything is all about risk management. Can someone sneak up on me and brain me with a brick? It's possible. I'm not robocop. I'd like to think that someone would've noticed a kid has a goddamn brick before it happens, though.

EristanaeChed-7 karma

Anyone can be a journalist nowadays and they can be one throught the avenue of the internet. do you think their are still jobs for us ( who really studied the course), after we graduate in a traditional way?

LookAtMeImAnSRO9 karma

Are you sure you're in the right AMA? If so, I'm not sure I understand your question, sorry.

FredReva-40 karma

What made you decide to become a pig?

LookAtMeImAnSRO35 karma

I don't think it's possible to change species. Can I refer you to /r/furries?

esoterictree2 karma

While I would have loved to see an answer which explained why you joined the PD, you were upvoted for referencing r/furries... skillfully, at that.

What made you join the police force, if I might ask?

FredReva-35 karma

Does it bother you that your chosen profession is a refuge for weak bitches looking to obtain any amount of power over other people because they're powerless in all other parts of their pathetic adult hall monitor lives? Can I refer you to /r/badcopnodonut /r/fuckthepolice ,pig.

LookAtMeImAnSRO35 karma

I'm sure you're a fun guy at parties and have a successful and engaging life. Meanwhile, I enjoy my job and the nice pay and benefits which supports my family in a comfortable lifestyle.

TLDR, suck my balls.