Fostering Positive Relationships; Keeping Kids Safe: School Resource Officers

Aug. 5, 2021
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Communications and Public Affairs

The Community Services Section currently has 11 certified police officers that serve as School Resource Officers (SROs) for the Chandler, Kyrene and Mesa Public School Districts. These officers are assigned to our high schools and junior/middle schools for the entire school year.

Our SROs are trained by the Arizona Department of Education in a partnership with Law for Kids, which is the State of Arizona’s School Safety Program that allows each SRO to instruct Law-Related Education (LRE) classes. All Chandler SROs are members of the Arizona School Resource Officers Association (ASROA) and the National School Resource Officers Association (NASRO), both of which provide training and networking among other SROs from across the state and nation. The Chandler Police Department’s SRO program has been recognized as a “Model School Resource Officer Agency” by the National Association of School Resource Officers.

The SRO utilizes both proactive and reactive community policing methods in dealing with educational institutions. Several of Chandler’s SROs participate in extra-curricular activities at their schools such as clubs and coaching athletic teams. This enables the SRO to foster positive relationships with both students, parents and staff in order to change the way the public looks at the law enforcement community.

Additionally, our SROs are trained in a nationally recognized program, Mental Health First Aid for Youth, and most of our SROs are trained in Crisis Intervention or commonly called CIT. They follow the best practices model, which is the Memphis Model. The goal is to have all Chandler SROs trained in both of these programs, which again demonstrates how they are utilizing the best training when working with the students.

Finally, Chandler Police instructs all of its SROs in de-escalation, which they also receive in their CIT classes as well as diversity and inclusion training. As you can see, they provide the best possible training to our SROs making them an extremely important part of the SRO triad model: Law Enforcement Officer, Teacher, Counselor and Mentor.

Get to Know an SRO: Officer Joshua Bazzell, Arizona College Prep High School

What do as an SRO for Arizona College Prep?

Working as a school resource officer is interesting and a lot of fun. As an SRO, we have three main responsibilities. First, we provide an enforcement presence on campus and provide support for safety. Second, we serve as a resource to the counseling and teaching staff on campus to assist when any type of law enforcement support may be needed. We also act as a resource for students, parents and community members who we interact with at the school. Thirdly, we provide law-related education to students in a classroom setting and serve as a teaching resource to the school community.

What kind of relationship do you have with the students?

I am always grateful for the interactions I get to have with students and to get to be a person they can reach out to and learn from. When I am interacting with the students and I can see in their eyes that something they learn has really clicked, or if I can tell they are processing something in a new way, that is really rewarding to be a part of. I really enjoy getting to be a part of positive interactions with the students and to help them have positive experiences with law enforcement in the classroom and beyond.

What elements of your job do you feel are most important or most meaningful to you?

I really enjoy getting to interact with the students as a real person, and I think that is important for showing students that police officers are people too. They love hearing stories about me and my family, and I enjoying learning about them as well.

Beyond that, the most meaningful part of my job is seeing the impact on the students and teachers I get to work with. I get a lot of satisfaction from being able to help someone when they need answers or help someone smile when they are having a rough day. The impact makes the job worthwhile. When we are able to help create positive memories for these students, I know the impact of those interactions make a long-term difference in their lives.

Why did you want to become an SRO?

I enjoyed working patrol before I moved into the SRO position. I used to work as a patrol officer around the high schools where I lived, and I just always enjoyed being around the youth and getting to be near the school environment. I feel like this position was a natural fit, because I can still serve and protect the community while getting to work with students and make an impact on them. I’ve loved it so far.