School Resource Officer (SRO) Program

History

The Garland Police Department’s SRO program began in August 1992 with nine School Resource Officers and one Lieutenant. Initially the program provided one police officer in each of Garland’s high schools, two officers sharing four middle schools, and the remaining two officers sharing 33 elementary schools.

In July 1993, ten additional police officers and one civilian clerk were added to the program increasing the total to 19 School Resource Officers. This allowed an officer to be assigned to each middle school and increased the elementary school coverage to four officers sharing the 33 elementary schools.

Concept

The Garland Police Department’s SRO Program is based on the "Triad Concept" in which the SRO is an Educator, Counselor and Law Enforcement Officer.

Educator

The SRO makes classroom presentations that are tailored to each grade level:

  • Introduction to the SRO Program
  • Careers In Law Enforcement
  • Child & Family Laws
  • Drugs and the Law
  • Personal Safety & Self Protection
  • Arrest Procedures and the Court System
  • Alcohol & D.W.I. 
  • Search & Seizure Law
  • Theft & Robbery
  • General Question & Answer Sessions

The SRO also makes presentations to Faculty and Staff, Administrators, PTA, and community service organizations.

Counselor

The SRO is always available to the students, parents and faculty in their school to be an "Active Listener." The SRO is not normally a state licensed counselor, but has a wealth of experience and expertise and can make referrals to many formal counseling services within the community.The SRO must be prepared to discuss a wide range of topics in his/her role as a counselor:

  • Accidental Deaths
  • Alcohol and its Effects
  • Capital Punishment
  • Auto Accidents
  • Drug Abuse
  • Family Relations
  • Gang Violence
  • Gun Control & Safety
  • Hate Groups
  • Inhalant Abuse
  • Leaving Home / Runaways
  • Police Abuse of Authority
  • Protective Orders / Peace Bonds
  • Student Relations
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Student Safety
  • Truancy

Law Enforcement Officer

The SRO always strives to be proactive and not just simply reactive. The SRO must remember that he/she is a role model, not just for the students but for the community.

  • The SRO may enforce laws from various sources: 
  • Texas Penal Code
  • Texas Education Code 
  • Texas Family Code
  • Texas Transportation Code
  • Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code
  • Texas Health & Safety Code
  • City of Garland Code of Ordinances

The SRO may be the first responder to on-campus emergency situations:

  • Natural disasters - tornado, flooding
  • Man-made disasters - bombs, fire
  • Injured or sick persons
  • Suicidal persons
  • Violent situations - armed persons, assaults

The SRO collects information and maintains statistical records:

  • Crimes, investigations, & arrests
  • Gang / Group activity
  • Narcotics activity

The SRO is also the Crime Prevention Officer for his/her campus:

  • Teach crime prevention techniques to students & faculty
  • Locate and eliminate crime risks

Duties and Responsibilities

  • The SRO is a Garland Police Officer first and is sworn to uphold the law. The SRO is not a school disciplinarian and will only take action when there is a violation of the law. School discipline is the responsibility of the school administrator.
  • The SRO and the school principal will formulate plans and strategies to prevent and/or minimize dangerous situations which might occur on campus.
  • The SRO will take action against trespassers or unwanted guests at the request of the principal or other school officials
  • The SRO is not the "truant officer." The school principal is responsible for filing truancy cases; however the SRO may transport truants back to school or to another appropriate facility.
  • The SRO will participate in extracurricular and other official school activities.
  • The SRO will conduct "Weapons Screenings" at the request of and with the cooperation of school principals.

Funding

The Garland Police Department SRO Program is jointly funded by the City of Garland and the Garland Independent School District. The salary and benefits for officers assigned to the SRO Program is shared equally between the City and the GISD. The City and the GISD have entered into a formal annual contract to provide the SRO Program for the benefit of the students and the city as a whole.