With kids starting back at school after a much deserved summer break, the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association is calling attention to the importance of the role SROs (Student Resource Officers) play in keeping schools safe and – especially – the other services the officers provide.

On Thursday, Aug. 24, the association sent out a press release meant to clear up the misconception that SROs are a one trick pony.

The release states that, contrary to popular belief, SROs don’t act simply as security guards for schools – but, instead, “they are trained to use “a community- oriented policing approach to build relationships with students and school staff.”

In addition to the usual law enforcement training, the Sherriff’s Association notes, SROs have to complete a Basic School Resource Officer course that’s offered by the North Carolina Justice Academy.

That course teaches officers things like search and seizure rules regarding students and the proper role of an SRO on a school campus. In addition, SROs who wish to continue their education may pursue a “School Resource Officer Certificate.” Getting that certification requires at least 400 classroom hours of instruction on “advanced issues” like crime prevention, mental health, the use of K9s and active shooter readiness.

Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell, the current president of the NC Sheriffs’ Association, stated in the release that law enforcement agency heads are selective as to who they choose to serve as an SRO.

 “Contrary to popular belief, it’s not an easy job,” he stated.  “SROs have to be able to relate to kids and parents, work side by side with teachers and administrators and have the respect of all of those individuals. That is a monumental task.”

Also, the release notes SROs sometimes educate students on career opportunities in law enforcement and assist the youngsters in making important future decisions.