In March of 2020, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the Lynnville-Sully School District, applied for a Community Oriented Policing Services grant to create a School Resource Officer (SRO) position to be assigned to Lynnville-Sully schools. Over the course of the last year and a half, this idea has finally come to fruition. The following information will provide some repeat information that has been shared along with some new information.
While the SRO position will increase the safety and security of Lynnville-Sully students and staff, both entities also recognize the importance of this collaboration as it pertains to relationships. The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office and Lynnville-Sully School District are excited for this partnership and the positive impact it will have on our community, citizens and school! Please take some time to look at the below questions and answers to become better informed with our new journey.
Why was a grant written to implement a SRO in Lynnville-Sully Schools?
Due to lack of law enforcement coverage in the school district and geographic isolation in the county, a weakness identified in the Lynnville-Sully Schools Emergency Management Plan was law enforcement response time in the event of an emergency. Depending on the location of law enforcement, current response time for Lynnville-Schools ranges from 8 to 12 minutes. Based on a 2019 United States Department of Homeland Security report, 83% of targeted school violence lasted five minutes or less, with 68% of those lasting two minutes or less. In the report, targeted school violence was defined as a K-12 school incident involving a weapon to cause injury or death.
Who will employ and train the SRO?
The SRO will be employed and trained by the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office. The Jasper County Sheriff Deputy hired as SRO will participate in an approved SRO certification class and job shadow a current SRO in another school district. This job shadow process has already been completed.
Will the SRO carry a weapon?
Yes, the SRO will wear a uniform and carry all equipment as required by a Jasper County Sheriff Deputy.
What will be the SRO’s hours?
On a normal school day, the SRO will work from 8 am – 4 pm. Some days may be adjusted if the SRO is expected to provide coverage for after-school or weekend extracurricular activities.
What will the SRO do during the school day?
The SRO will be assigned many tasks during the day. With full implementation, more duties will be assigned based on school district needs. The daily duties, responsibilities, tasks and assignments specific to the SRO position include the following, but not limited to:
1. Patrol school district and neighboring properties to detect and deter criminal activity and dangerous traffic conditions.
2. Provide for safety and security at school district events.
3. Provide in-service training to help the Sheriff’s Office and school administrators prepare for and deal with security-related matters.
4. Work closely with school administrators and school staff to improve their understanding of Jasper County Sheriff’s Office aim to assure a safe learning environment.
5. Serve as a visible and active law enforcement officer on school campuses addressing law related areas such as drugs, traffic, trespassing, fighting, theft, vandalism, etc.
6. Work collaboratively and serve as liaison amongst public safety agencies, schools, and the community to deter criminal and delinquent actions, as well as promote positive behavior.
7. Coordinate security and control of crowds and vehicles at extra-curricular and special events. Monitor and instruct students, visitors, and district personnel on proper and lawful campus or facility behavior. Help define, promote, and maintain a respectful environment and code of conduct.
8. When possible, serve as the initial first responder and school safety coordinator for school campus emergencies.
9. Provide classroom talks and presentations on crime prevention, decision making, and foundational concepts and structures of law.
10. Provide instructions and directions to others pertaining to law enforcement matters and emergency situations.
11. Conduct security building assessments for schools.
12. Perform a daily review of law enforcement activity to evaluate calls for service, incidents, or arrests that may involve students and/or their family members.
Will the SRO discipline students for classroom behavior, attendance, etc.?
No, school administrators and classroom teachers will continue to be responsible for student behavior management. The SRO will be asked to assist if school administrators normally called law enforcement to resolve an issue.
Will the SRO respond to emergency situations in the community?
Depending on the situation, the SRO may immediately respond to emergency situations at local
businesses, organizations, or residential properties. After other law enforcement arrive on the scene, the SRO will return to the school.
Does the COPS federal grant cover the entire cost of the SRO?
No, the school district and sheriff’s office will share expenses not covered in the grant. The grant only covers expenses related to SRO wages and benefits.
What will be SRO duties during the summer months/holidays/breaks when school is not in session?
When school is not in session, the SRO will be placed on the patrol schedule to work a normal patrol shift. During summer months, the SRO will be present at extracurricular events if requested by Lynnville-Sully administration.
Where will the SRO be located in the school?
The SRO will have an office in the high school building near the main entrance. The space that will be occupied by the SRO was previously known as the "Hawk Shop" and is being converted to an office space.