By Terry Rogers
Milford Police Department hosted School Resource Officer Training during the week of June 17 through 21 through a program offered by the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO). According to Officer Joey Melvin, the School Resource Officer for Milford School District, police officers from several states participated in the training, which included both Basic and Advanced level courses.
“Milford is hosting both the basic and advanced courses, and I am taking the advanced course,” Officer Melvin explained. “Not all departments require the NASRO training, but Milford does require all School Resource Officers to take the basic course before they can become an officer in the schools. The basic course is five days, while the advanced course is three.”
NASRO’s School Resource Officer Training covers what is known as a “Triad” concept, which teaches officers that a School Resource Officer serves three roles in the school. They serve a law enforcement capacity, but are also informal counselors and educators while they are on duty within the school. Currently, Officer Melvin is the only Resource Officer in Milford, but the district will be adding three more for the upcoming school year.
Pamela Reveos, who taught the advanced course, says that the training is designed to expand on the core elements that NASRO works to instill in the officers stationed in schools. Officer Reveos, who is a School Resource Officer in Lee County, Alabama, began working in schools in 2004, becoming an instructor in 2007.
“NASRO uses a national curriculum so that the training received throughout the United States is exactly the same no matter where you take the course,” Officer Reveos explained. “We want to expand the knowledge of those officers placed in schools in order to provide the best safety for students, teaching the officers how to use the environment and building to reduce risk.”
A department hosts a class by contacting NASRO and submitting a request. One of the benefits of hosting NASRO School Resource Officer Training is that the host department receives at least one slot in the classes for free, which saves the department and community money, as well as providing additional training for officers assigned to schools in the district.
Matt Lister, a School Resource Officer from Wichita, Kansas, taught the Basic course, and explained that the training is designed to take an officer from patrol to the school, a transition that requires additional knowledge and information. Officer Lister, who began teaching School Resource Officer Training in 1998, and who, along with a friend, started the NASRO chapter in the state of Kansas, explained that functioning as a police officer in the school setting requires that officers have an understanding of dynamics that are not present outside the school.
“Officers must understand about special education, about case law that specifically pertains to education, and about many other facets that are common when dealing with children that may not apply on the street,” Officer Lister said. “The course covers everything from dealing with dysfunctional families to classroom management to school safety procedures.” The Advanced course expands on the curriculum taught in the Basic course, with topics such as dealing with administration, school dress code issues, and crime prevention techniques unique to the school setting.
“This goes beyond an armed person in the classroom,” Officer Melvin explained. “This training helps us create a safety team as we learn effective communication with the kids, what not to do, how to work with the administration, even how to protect the schools through environmental design.”