HIGH SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER PROGRAM
1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.
Problems of delinquency, alcohol and substance abuse, gang involvement and other youth related problems which negatively affect the community and the schools can best be addressed in a proactive and preventive manner. The Denver Police Department, and the Denver Public School Administration have jointly developed a program to provide a school-based approach to address incidents and situations directly or indirectly related to juveniles and the schools.
The goals of the program are to:
1. Provide the safest possible environment for students in order to facilitate an optimum atmosphere for learning
2. To enhance the development of a positive relationship between students and the police
3. To prevent delinquency
4. To decrease the incidence of substance abuse
5. To decrease gang involvement
6. To mentor and encourage students to stay in school and successfully complete their education.
The joint program consists of the assignment of police officers in each of the Denver public high schools. Representatives from the Denver Police Department and the Denver Public Schools worked together to develop duties and responsibilities for the school resource officers to achieve program goals.
School Resource officer duties and responsibilities include the following:
1. Contribute to the positive police-school-community relations efforts, especially as these efforts relate to students and parents.
2. Maintain high visibility and take initiative to interact with students and staff serving as a professional and positive role model.
3 Coordinate with the Denver Police Explorer Scout Post and the Denver Police Department Recruitment Unit to encourage students to pursue careers in law enforcement.
4. Assist in the prevention and control of crime (including traffic ordinances), delinquency, and disorder, on the campuses and, when students are involved, in areas in the immediate area of the school campus.
5. Act as a law enforcement liaison / consultant / representative with students, faculty, school staff, administration, parents and school community.
6. Take appropriate law enforcement action when needed in accordance with existing law.
7. Assist faculty and administration in the development of emergency management plans for the school population in an effort to minimize the potential for injury or damage in the event of a crisis situation.
8. Provide a liaison between the school and the criminal justice system, including police, courts and corrections for all crime related incidents involving students or school staff.
9. Participate in Law Related Education, coordinate with D.A.R.E. (Drug Awareness Resistance Education) instructors to ensure a variety of personal safety and information classes are made available to the students.
10. Coordinate resources including parents, community, government, the juvenile justice system and social services to identify issues and solve problems.
11. Upon consultation the School's principal and the officer’s commander, a School Resource Officer may be assigned, as much as practical, to attend selected Schools' extracurricular activities such as Parent Teacher Association meetings, athletic events, and dances.
The selection of officers for assignment to the High School Resource Officer Program was achieved through an interview process involving the respective Patrol District Captains, high school principals, and representatives of the school’s Collaborative Decision Making Team (CDM). A minimum of four years police experience was a prerequisite.
Each officer selected to be assigned as a school resource officer received 32 hours of specialized training. This training, administered jointly by the Denver Police Department and the Denver Public Schools was conducted in mid-November. The training curriculum consisted of the following topics:
Duties and Responsibilities
School District Policies
Characteristics of High School Students
After School Programs
Function of Collaborative Decision Making Teams
Denver Police Explorer Program
2. How do you measure the program’s effectiveness?
1. Changes in the number and type of calls for service
2. Number and type of reported offenses
3. Number and type of arrests
4. Increased attendance
5. Number of student contacts
3. How is the program financed?
Funding for the High School Resource Officer Program is provided through a COPS Universal Hiring Grant paying approximately 56%, with the balance supplemented by the Denver Police Department. The program, begun in January 1998, is funded through the year 2000.
The program has been in effect for one school semester and is entering the first full school year. Early evaluation of the program shows promising results. Originally, funding was to be shared with the schools. Their budget, however, would not allow it. The High School Resource Officers have met with such overwhelming acceptance that Mayor Wellington Webb agreed to assume the schools’ part of the expense.
4. Contact person:
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.