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ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
 "WE PROVIDE RESPONSIVE, ACCOUNTABLE AND PROFESSIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT SERVICES".

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SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER PROGRAM (SRO)
Captain L. Faucette

We first placed deputies in Orange high School in the fall of 1994. The principal asked if we could help with reducing the number of disruptions and some fights that were occurring at Orange high School during their lunch period. The principal believed if we could have a presence during lunch period, we could at least reduce the opportunity of some of the strife and conflict that was taking place.  Sergeant Gerald Castle and Sergeant Ned Thorpe were assigned at that time to juvenile crime investigations and knew most of the students. We asked the two to plan each day to be in the high school during lunch break and communicate with the students in the hallways and cafeteria. After several months of these daily visits a trust and bond was established with the students. Order was restored
  and disruptions basically ceased.

The Safe Schools Committee having observed what we had accomplished asked the School Board and Orange County to help with funding for a deputy to be placed in Orange High School. Deputies were selected and approved by the Safe School Committee. SRO training was obtained through the Justice Academy for the two deputies selected. In the fall of 1998 with funding we were able to place deputies in Orange High and Stanford Middle Schools.

In 1996 Federal Funding became available and we were awarded a federal grant funding two deputies. The funding allowed us to have two deputies at Orange High, one deputy at Stanford Middle school and one deputy at the new A. L. Stanback Middle School. In 1998 we again applied for grant and were awarded four positions to assist with teaching DA.R.E. in elementary and remedial DA.R.E. classes in middle schools. The DA.R.E. Curriculum changed and we no longer teach DA.R.E. In the middle schools we now teach the new G.R.E.A.T. program designed to redirect our young people away from becoming involved with gang activity.

We have SRO's in both high schools, and three middle schools. 

WHAT IS A SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER?

A School Resource Officer (SRO) is a certified police officer who is assigned full-time to a school. All SRO'S are certified by the National Association of School Resource Officers and receive ongoing specialized training. The SRO is similar to a "Community Oriented Police" Officer who is a member of the community he or she serves and is aware of the special needs of his community.

The SRO is a person students and parents can turn to offer help. A person they can respect and depend upon. A person with real answers.

The SRO Program was first implemented in Flint, Michigan in 1951. Since the program's inception it has successfully been put into practice in 35 states. While there are no nationwide statistics to reflect the number of young people SRO'S have guided away from delinquency; the general consensus of people familiar with the program is that SRO'S have proven to be a valuable, positive force in the lives of the school community, the SRO, faculty, staff and students can truly work together to build safer schools.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF SRO'S

LAW ENFORCER
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INSTRUCTOR --- ADVISOR


INSTRUCTOR

SRO'S visit classrooms to make presentations of a law related nature such as Drug Education, Police and their role in society, the history of Law Enforcement and other related topics. SRO'S are also available as a resource for teachers in developing specialty programs tailored to specific units of study, court procedures, citizenship, self-esteem, forensic science, etc. Through classroom instruction, students gain a better understanding of the police and the importance of laws to a society.

LAW ENFORCER

Working with school administrators, SRO'S investigate criminal violations which involve student's knowledge that investigations of criminal incidents will be conducted is in itself a deterrent to delinquent behavior - a primary goal of the program.
Security and safety within the school are other concerns of SRO's. They evaluate situations and make recommendations to school administrators in reference to safety issues in the schools. the mere presence of an officer helps deter unwanted persons from frequenting campuses.


It also serves as notice to students that contraband, such as weapons and illegal substances, will not be tolerated at school.

ADVISOR

Students are encouraged to seek the personalized attention of SRO'S. Each officer is specially trained to conduct informal, individual or group discussions. SRO'S are available for conferences with students, parents and faculty members regarding law related problems and crime prevention techniques. SRO'S are familiar with various social services and local community resources that are available for referral.

ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES

The involvement of SRO'S extends far beyond the classroom and normal workday. Officers participate in parent teacher and faculty meetings, student social and sporting events, and club projects. The presence of SRO'S tends to strengthen the student/police bonds and shows the officers' commitment to the student, their education and safety.

SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS

Are not school disciplinarians. An SRO takes collective action against students only when there is a perceived violation of law.

Promote a better confidential source of our laws; why they were enacted and their benefits.

Serve as a confidential source of counseling to students concerning problems they face, especially as they relate to the law.

Serve to protect the school environment and maintain an atmosphere where teachers feel safe to teach and students feel safe to learn.

Conduct classroom presentations on a variety of law related education issues.

Help young people make more positive choices in their lives.

Work with parents, students, educators and the community to build safe schools.

Visit the Orange County Schools Website to find out more information about the school system.

In 1998, Orange County Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass received a three-year grant, in the amount of $450,000, from the US Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPSFAST). These funds will be used to establish six full-time Deputy positions.

The Department has  placed school resource officers in all secondary schools in Orange County. Their presence has helped to curtail crime in the schools and provide a safer learning environment for students.

School Resource Officers

August 30th 2006, Alvero Castillo drove to Orange Hill School in Hillsborough and started shooting, according to Orange County Deputies. School Resource Officer, Deputy Ivey London, along with a driver's education teacher Russ LeBlanc, subdued Castillo before anyone could be shot.