School Resource Officers are certified and sworn police officers specially selected to serve on a school campus. The journey to become an SRO differs for most but it must start with attending a Criminal Justice Training Center, completing the requirements of a basic law enforcement training program, and receiving a passing score on the State Officer Certification Exam. Officers from outside of Florida who wish to obtain their certification in Florida may have an option of attending an Equivalency of Training program. This Law Enforcement certification allows the Officer to work for any law enforcement agency in the state of Florida.

Law enforcement agencies differ in each of the 67 counties in Florida. City police agencies have jurisdiction within their respective cities while sheriff’s offices have jurisdiction within the boundaries of said county and within city limits. Some county school districts have chosen to have a police department known as district police. Those districts that have chosen to do so have different models with varying roles regarding school safety. Nevertheless, a school district police officer only has jurisdiction within the confines of school board owned property. Not all agencies have SROs so seek an agency that does. Some agencies will hire and allow officers to immediately serve in the SRO capacity while others may require a minimum amount of time served in the patrol function to learn basic law enforcement on the streets before allowing an SRO specialization.

What is an SRO

Recent changes in legislation has defined more requirements in the selection of a SRO. All SROs are required to undergo criminal background checks, drug testing, and a psychological evaluation under F.S.S 1006.12. SROs are highly encouraged to obtain a School Resource Officer certification (40 hours), attend Crisis Intervention Training (40 hours), Youth Mental Health First Aid, and participate in Active Assailant Training. Most of this additionally required training specific to SROs is provided either by the employing agency or a local training center. While it is possible to be assigned to a school as a SRO prior to obtaining required training, it is likely that the agency will require the newly appointed SRO to complete them as soon as possible.



A SRO is recognized as the first line of defense in the event of a dangerous encounter on their campus. The response of the assigned officer is vital in stopping and/or eliminating a threat such as an active killer and should be trained and prepared to do so.

Unofficial Counselor

SROs are often involved in conflict resolution when students are having a hard time getting along. Not all counseling is negative however. Police officers are commonly looked at as leaders in their communities and most times students and school staff look up to the SRO which can lead to a mentor role as well.


SROs are challenged to educate the students and staff of their campuses. Students are commonly taught well known programs like L.E.A.D., Know the Law, D.A.R.E., and cyber safety which mostly focus on prevention. School staff are generally instructed on emergency plans and procedures and most importantly the role of the SRO on their campus. It is important that staff understand that the SRO is not on campus to intervene in behavioral issues that are non-criminal and student handbook violations.

Law Enforcer

School campuses are small cities during school hours and sometimes well before and after the bells ring. Crime tends to occur and sometimes law enforcement action must be taken. The goal of most SROs is to avoid arrests of juveniles and find other ways to address the issue or behavior like non-criminal diversionary programs. Diversion programs differ by general jurisdiction but most of them require the student to work or do some series of tasks to avoid the case entering the criminal justice system.

Surrogate/Social Worker

SROs, just like teachers, learn the students and their familial/living conditions. Because of the natural servant hearts of the SRO, they find themselves in the role of “taking care” of a student who may be going without or doesn’t have the means to obtain the basic necessities they need to feel safe, sheltered, and even fed. Social media feeds are filled with examples of SROs buying students meals, purchasing bicycles and other means of transportation, and even providing gifts for the holidays.

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