Changes Coming To SRO Program In SF
by Jill Johnson
May 17, 2013 5:16 PM
The School Resource Officer program in Sioux Falls began 18 years ago at Lincoln and Washington High Schools. Now, there's an officer at most middle schools and high schools in Sioux Falls and Harrisburg. With new schools on the horizon, more resources will be needed to cover them.
As it stands the Sioux Falls Police Department has 11 School Resource Officers throughout the city.
Soon, the program will add four more.
Sioux Falls Police Chief Doug Barthel says, "Some of the schools have more issues with law enforcement than others do so it often times requires the use of more than one SRO."
The additional officers are coming from the 'I Can' program, formerly known as DARE. Sioux Falls Police Chief Barthel says the program will be eliminated this fall. He says the three officers who teach it will now be assigned as resource officers.
The officer who is currently teaching school safety to grade schools will also be reassigned as an SRO; a responsibility that will now fall on all of their shoulders.
Barthel says, "We've met with both the public and private schools and a lot of the topics that are being taught in the 'I Can' program are being covered within the schools."
But there's an even bigger change coming to the program. Instead of an officer being assigned to a certain school, they'll now be working as a team. The officers will be assigned to quadrants, with as many as four working in each one.
Barthel says, "This is going to allow us to allocate those resources where they're needed plus give us coverage amongst all of the schools."
Chief Barthel says despite the changes, the goal, keeping our children safe, remains the same.
The team approach to the program mimics changes made to patrol officers a few years ago. They're also assigned in quadrants or different areas of the city.