School Resource Officer
Hello! I'm Officer Nick Schieffer of the Ames Police Department in Ames, Iowa. Currently I hold the position of School Resource Officer or "SRO" and work with the Ames Community School District. As this position has several responsibilities, my focus is the safety and law related education of the school district. This site not only has valuable information for students, teachers and citizens of Ames, but also for anyone that has an interest in learning about the role of the SRO. Parents, students, and others are encouraged to ask questions or leave comments/feedback concerning this program. For our students to be successful, we need to work together in providing a safe school environment. Not only a school where the students feel safe to learn, but for a school where teachers feel safe to teach.
What Is a School Resource Officer?
The School Resource Officer program is a problem-solving approach to reducing crime by assigning a police officer to the school district to establish an ongoing rapport with students, staff, and parents. The basic goals are:
- To provide a safe learning environment and help reduce school violence.
- To improve school/law enforcement collaboration.
- To improve perceptions and relations between students, staff, and law enforcement officials.
While my primary duty is to reduce crime in the schools, I also teach classes, talk with students and make referrals to other agencies to help students and their families solve problems. I am committed to the community policing concepts regarding our schools and surrounding neighborhoods. I believe that most problems can be solved or minimized by establishing partnerships with students, staff, parents, and other members of our community.
I am a member of NASRO (National Association of School Resource Officers) and that is where I receive formal training. NASRO believes in the "triad" approach to school-based policing:
- Law Enforcement
The SRO program offers many programs, some examples include:
- School Bus Safety
- Conflict Resolution
- Bicycle Safety
- Harassment Prevention
- Domestic Violence Prevention
The SRO's Student Help Line
The 24 hour help line is available so students and parents can report any suspicious activity, crimes or any concerns at any time.
You may also e-mail the SRO with information, firstname.lastname@example.org
A Message for Parents
SIGNS TO LOOK FOR:
You may notice, and perhaps dismiss some of the things in the below list. While no one item signals drug use, all are signs to look for. If several have happened in your family, there may be a greater cause for concern.
- Increase in need for money
- Increased secrecy
- Loss of personal property (items sold for cash)
- New friendships that don't fit the norm
- Change in eating or sleeping habits
- Change in behavior, i.e.; violence, lying, betrayal of trust, apathy
- Sudden loss (or gain) of weight without cause
- Increase in illness/injury
- Change in school behavior/grades
ITEMS TO WATCH FOR:
- Original or homemade pipes of any kind (pipes may be made of metal, wood or household items of any kind).
- Plastic baggies of any size/type
- Extra, unexplained cash
- Valuable items described as belonging to a "friend"
- Matches and lighters
- Drug related graffiti, music or symbols in room or on clothing
The best defense is a good offense. Stay in touch with your child's friends. Invite them to your house and observe their behavior. Are they comfortable around adults? Are they unusually secretive?
Take time to listen (really listen) to your kid's music. Ask questions of your kids or check for a description of the type of message a particular group gives. You can check the words at the following web site: lyrics.com
Every child is different and most will naturally have a few of the above traits at times without drug use. If you have questions or concerns, talk to your kids. If you are met with rebellion, keep trying with a nurturing attitude. Getting defensive doesn't work. This "team building" mode can take time. Explain that you just want to get to know them better. Most will eventually come around. Starting when your kids are young will help a lot.
Keep the line of communication open. Let them know that it's OK to have an opinion. Tell them that you will try to respect theirs, within your established house rules.
Whatever the situation, most kids go through tough times and weather them with help and love. "Tough Love" is the process of sticking to your beliefs and morals without compromise. Even if it means harsh consequences for your child's actions. Constantly bailing kids out of situations with money, influence or compromise has led many frustrated parents down a dark path. Kids become lost and confused the first time "mommy and daddy" are not there to patch up a problem they are faced with. Effective consequences lead to positive change!
School Resource Officer