School Resource Officer (SRO) Program
Gender: Mixed (male and female)
Population served: No specific targeted population
Topic: Academic issues; Aggressive/violent behaviours; Alcohol and/or drug use; Antisocial/deviant behaviours; Bullying/cyberbullying; Drug trafficking; Gang and/or related criminal activities; Property crime
Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 3 or more
Continuum of intervention: Primary crime prevention; Secondary crime prevention
The School Resource Officer (SRO) Program supports the placement of Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) Constables in elementary, middle and high schools within various school divisions in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The role of the School Resource Officer is to provide support to the school community as a whole, which includes students, parents, school staff, and administrators.
Stemming from the practice of community policing, the School Resource Officer Program is a collaboration between law enforcement officers and the school community in order to create a setting that is safe and secure, with a focus on prevention and early intervention activities.
The roles and responsibilities of the school resource officer vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. A diverse range of duties can be incorporated into the SRO job description, but generally include public safety and law-related education, relationship building and positive role modeling, community liaison, problem solving and law enforcement.
In Manitoba, the School Resource Officer (SRO) program was established in 2002 and currently exists in two school divisions in Winnipeg; the Winnipeg School Division and the Pembina Trails School Division. There are presently 11 SROs working with 107 schools.Footnote1
In Manitoba, the five main goals of the SRO program(s) include:
- Strengthening relationships between police, community and particularly youth;
- Enhancing neighborhood safety by strengthening partnerships between and among police, schools and the community;
- Providing schools with more strategic crime prevention resources;
- Demonstrating effective, collaborative and proactive community-based crime prevention strategies; and
- Potential cost savings for justice, education and social service systems.
Anticipated outcomes of an SRO Program include increased safety in and around schools, increased perceptions of safety, improved police call response times, reduction in truancy, reduction in school related incidents and/or crime and disorder problems such as bullying, violence, gang and drug activities.
The appropriate clientele for the SRO program include students (Kindergarten to grade 12), parents, school staff and school administrators.
At the core of the SRO Program is relationship and trust building. These goals are achieved by various responsibilities and activities, including regular and informal contact with students, promotion of restorative justice practices, follow up with victims of crime, consultation with parents, school administration and teachers, and participation in extra-curricular/community events.
Activities that enhance safety (real and perceived), include developing school safety plans, intelligence gathering, interviewing and cautioning students regarding illegal or unsafe behavior, and classroom presentations on crime prevention, cyberbullying, gang awareness, illegal drugs and the like.
Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:
- Organizational requirements: Officers participating in the SRO program must have completed 5 years of services within the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS), and possess effective planning and organizational skills. There must also be a willingness to complete a 5 year assignment as an SRO (with potential for extension).
- Partnerships: For an effective SRO program, there must be partnerships between the provincial government, select school divisions and the Winnipeg Police Service.
- Training and technical assistance: There are two trainings for an SRO officer in the program. First of all, there must be a successful completion of the Winnipeg Police Service’s Effective Presentation training and Cross Cultural Communication Training within specified time after assuming SRO position. Secondly, the officer must have the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) Basic Training.
- Risk assessment tools: The risk assessment level required in the SRO program is the Canadian Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response (VTRA) Level 1 Training.
- Materials & resources: The National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) and Canadian Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response are two resources used for the SRO program.
The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:
- Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
- Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
- SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
- Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.
Gathering Canadian Knowledge
Canadian Implementation Sites
The School Resource Officer (SRO) program has been implemented in various school divisions in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The program has also been implemented in Alberta and Ontario school divisions.
Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies
Four (4) previously completed exploratory/qualitative evaluations (2005, 2007, 2010 and 2014) of the Winnipeg School Division SRO Program have demonstrated positive results. In addition, a 2012 exploratory/qualitative evaluation of the Pembina Trails School Division demonstrated similar positive results. Below is some of the impact due to the SRO Program:
Students report that:
- Schools feel safer;
- The SRO’s are good resources for advice and mediations;
- Students feel safer and secure around police;
- Students’ perceptions of police have become more positive;
- There is less bullying/violence; and
- There is less graffiti and damage to school property.
- There is less graffiti in the neighbourhoods;
- People in the community perceive SRO’s as positive; and
- Parents and neighbours regularly contact the SRO’s for assistance.
- Police can respond and resolve issues involving students more efficiently;
- Students’ familiarity with SRO’s enhances police credibility and resolution of issues;
- Parents utilize the SRO’s to report and resolve issues involving their children, which is more cost effective to have SRO’s resolve issues at the school rather than utilizing patrol officers; and
- Expanded community intelligence gathering abilities, community more responsive to SRO’s and willingness to share information.
In Manitoba, the SRO program is cost shared through a partnership where the Province of Manitoba, the School Division and the Winnipeg Police Service is each responsible for one third of the program costs. Actual costs are comprised of police officer salaries as set through the Winnipeg Police Service Collective Agreement.
Kaplan Research Associates Inc. (2014). Formative Evaluation of the SRO Program in the Winnipeg School Division.
Kaplan Research Associates Inc. (2012). Formative Evaluation of the SRO Program in the Pembina Trails School Division.
Dalke, K. & Kowbel, M. (2007). Evaluation of the North End School Resource Officer Initiative.
Prairie Research Association (2005). Evaluation of the North End School Resource Officer Partnership Initiative.
School Resource Management Committee (2010). School Resource Officer Program Evaluation. In partnership with Winnipeg Police Service and Winnipeg School Division Department of Research and Planning.
For more information on this program, contact:
Manitoba Justice, Community Safety Division
Crime Prevention Branch
Record Entry Date - 2018-03-12
Winnipeg Police Service – available at: http://www.winnipeg.ca/police/insidewps/20130702_sro.stm
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