The APS Safety and Security Department started the school year with 26 full-time Atlanta Police Department (APD) School Resource Officers (SROs) assigned in every middle and high school. By January of 2014, 235 part-time SROs will be replaced by 73 full-time SROs assigned to schools. These officers will also support elementary schools within the cluster as needed. APS will continue to staff part-time APD officers and sheriff deputies to support extra-curricular and after-hour special events.
“This is the first full-time APS school resource officer program with APD, and we are excited that this partnership will help us improve how we deliver services to our students and staff,” says Chief Marquenta Sands, Director of Safety and Security at APS.
The 73 full-time SROs will be assigned to the school detectives unit within the City of Atlanta Police Department that has the primary responsibility of addressing public safety issues at APS middle schools, high schools and other property owned by the school district. SROs work with APS Security personnel and community agencies individually and cooperatively, in the detection and elimination of unlawful, or harmful conditions, traffic hazards, or other conditions, which could endanger the safety and welfare of students and staff.
Each SRO working in APS will be required to complete school specific training, which will enable them to integrate the role of law enforcement into the school environment.
“We will be able to scale the program to meet the needs of the schools, because that’s what it’s really all about,” says Chief Sands.
One of the most important advantages of staffing full-time SROs is that they will be able to build relationships with the students, staff, and school community. The SROs will work at the same school everyday, identifying the specific security needs at that particular school. They will work with the zone community officers and concentrate on building a safe school element throughout the community.
The APS Safety and Security Department believes that this partnership with APD allows them to finally serve students and staff the way they deserve, by providing full-time officers who are fully trained and focused on protecting them in a school environment.