Training of school-based law enforcement officers so they can properly serve and protect school administrators, teachers and students
This week, the Carson City Sheriff’s Office hosted training of school-based officers provided by the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO). The training is viewed as essential certifications for officers working within educational environments and critical to the success of the “triad” concept of policing in school programs. The “triad” concept divides the officer’s responsibilities into the three critical areas of Educator, Informal Counselor, and Law Enforcement Officer. Attending this training were Deputy Sheriff’s from Carson City, Lyon County, Nye County, Tribal Police Winnemucca and Fallon Police Departments, and officers from the state of Arizona.
Officers assigned to school-based programs not only fulfil critical roles in the prevention of violence, but they act as mentors and counselors daily for our youth. The five-day training calendar includes blocks of instruction on dealing with youth with special needs, mental health, media and cyber safety, understanding teen development, violence and victimization, developing relationships with diverse students, school law, emergency operations, and many other school and student centered topics.
According to Sheriff Furlong, it is important for agencies to acknowledge that arresting juveniles is not always the most effective or efficient path to resolving problems. Referral services and agencies, such as the Ron Wood Family Resource Center or state assistance agencies, often provided critical resources for families and young individuals in need of support. The National Association of School Recourse Offices Association embraces this philosophy and provides officers with world-wide best practice training and certifications. Having the Carson City Deputies fully trained and certified to look past the circumstance and focus on the causes of challenges benefits our schools, families, and the entire community.
The Carson City School District and Sheriff’s Office share a funded partnership of the School Resource Officer’s Program. Deputy Sheriff’s are provided at each middle school, Carson High and Pioneer High School, one officer assigned to educational prevention programs. The program has a dedicated supervising Sergeant overseeing the unit. The team works closely with school administrators and counselors, coordinates activities on and off-campus with the Sheriff’s Office Mobile Outreach Behavioral Health response teams and is connected closely with Carson City Juvenile Services. Together, the teams focus their efforts on early intervention, diversion activities and guidance for referral services to support families that may be struggling. In just this past year, the School Resource Officer Program joined with an initiative developed by Carson City Juvenile Services to implement an “early intervention” program designed to prevent youth challenges before they surface into the criminal justice systems. Chief of Juvenile Services, Ms. Ali Banister, notes this activity as one of the most positive initiatives to be implemented in years.
The National Association of School Resource Officers is the fastest growing area of law enforcement with a critical focus on youth services and needs. School districts around the world desire safe school and successful community partnerships in developing the most effective programs for their communities. The goal of the NASRO and officer programs is to provide safe learning environments in our schools, provide valuable resources to school staff, foster positive relationships with our youth, and develop strategies to resolve problems affecting our youth and families with the objective of protecting all children so they can reach their fullest potential.
Sheriff Furlong applauds those agencies nationwide who have adopted the NASRO school policing concepts of youth first. “Our schools are safest when the students are present in the learning environment and when each student feels that they are individually valued in our community.”
The Sheriff also notes that while the Covid Crisis has impacted the local School Resource Officer Program, the Deputies assigned in Carson City have been engaged around the clock in youth centered needs, engagement, referrals and crisis calls. The Covid crisis has created several positive opportunities for the team. As this school year began with varied schedules, Resource Officers have had more opportunities to visit youth in their home environments, perform follow up visits, and enhance law enforcement supportive services at School District sponsored activities.