Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a school resource officer? A school resource officer, by federal definition, is a career law enforcement officer with sworn authority who is deployed by an employing police department or agency in a community-oriented policing assignment to work in collaboration with one or more schools.
- What are appropriate roles of school resource officers? The goals of well-founded SRO programs include providing safe learning environments in our nation’s schools, providing valuable resources to school staff members, fostering positive relationships with youth, developing strategies to resolve problems affecting youth and protecting all students, so that they can reach their fullest potentials. NASRO considers it a best practice to use a “triad concept” to define the three main roles of school resource officers: educator (i.e. guest lecturer), informal counselor/mentor, and law enforcement officer.
- How many school resource officers are there in the United States? Nobody knows how many SROs there are in the U.S., because SROs are not required to register with any national database, nor are police departments required to report how many of their officers work as SROs, nor are school systems required to report how many SROs they use. A 2007 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) survey by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) found that there were more than 17,000 SROs deployed in public schools nationwide, but the DOJ has not repeated that survey since. The National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), estimates that between 14,000 and 20,000 SROs are in service nationwide, based on DOJ data and the number of SROs that NASRO has trained. A similar, but slightly different question is, “How many schools use SROs?” The most recent available data on that query comes from a 2015 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (a part of the U.S. Department of Education), based on a survey of public schools in the spring of 2014. The Center reported that 30 percent of U.S. public schools who participated in the survey indicated that they had at least one full-time or part-time school resource officer during the 2013-2014 academic year. There were approximately 98,500 public schools in the U.S. that year, meaning that, solely by this survey, approximately 29,550 schools had at least one school resource officer. NASRO estimates that currently about 20 percent of all U.S. K-12 schools (public and private) are served by school resource officers. However, many SROs serve more than one school and some schools have more than one officer. One therefore cannot reliably extrapolate the number of SROs from the percentage of schools in the 2014 survey.
- Should schools arm teachers, or others who are not law enforcement officers? NASRO strongly recommends that no firearms be on a school campus except those carried by carefully selected, specially trained school resource officers, who are by definition (see above) active, sworn law enforcement officers. There are several reasons for this recommendation:
- Law enforcement officers who respond to an incident at a school could mistake for an assailant a teacher or any other armed person who is not in a uniform.
- Anyone who hasn’t received the extensive training provided to law enforcement officers will likely be mentally unprepared to take a life, especially the life of a student assailant.
- Firearm skills degrade quickly, which is why most law enforcement agencies require their officers to practice on a shooting range frequently (as often as once per month), under simulated, high-stress conditions. Anyone without such frequent, ongoing practice will likely have difficulty using a firearm safely and effectively.
- In addition to maintaining marksmanship, ongoing firearms practice helps law enforcement officers overcome the physiological response to stress than can reduce the fine motor skills required to accurately fire a weapon.
- Anyone who possesses a firearm on campus must be able to keep it both ready for use and absolutely secure. Law enforcement officers receive training that enables them to overcome attempts to access their weapons.
- Discharging a firearm in a crowded school is an extremely risky action, with consequences that can include the wounding and/or death of innocent victims. Law enforcement officers receive training and practice in evaluating quickly the risks of firing. They hold their fire when the risks to others are too high.
Rather than arming school faculty or staff, NASRO recommends that sufficient federal, state and/or local funding be made available to place at least one carefully selected, specially trained school resource officer in every school in the nation. NASRO further recommends that large schools be provided more than one SRO.
- How do I become a school resource officer? The first step in becoming a school resource officer is to become a sworn, career law enforcement officer. Typically, one becomes a law enforcement officer by applying to a law enforcement agency for employment and then completing the training that agency requires of its recruits. NASRO recommends that law enforcement officers receive a certain amount of street experience and complete specialized SRO training before being assigned to SRO positions. Not all law enforcement officers are well suited for the roles of SROs, so NASRO recommends that law enforcement agencies select carefully officers for this special assignment.
Website/Member Services FAQs
- Can I register someone from our department under my login/account? No. Do not try to register someone else under your name and information. Accounts/memberships follow each individual. If you attempt to register someone under your login/account, you are actually registering yourself, and you are subject to a $25 transfer fee to transfer the registration to the appropriate person.
- How do I register myself or someone else for training? The person being registered must have a login/account in his or her own name. If the person already has a login/account, please skip to STEP TWO.
- STEP ONE: Create an account by going to the homepage and clicking “Join NASRO”. Complete each box and remember to write down your password. When you get to the bottom blue section, you will choose the type of account you are creating. If you want to just register for a class or conference, you will select “BASIC CONTACT,” and scroll to the bottom to enter the Captcha code, and click “Update & Check Details.” At this point, your account is created, and you are ready to register for a training.
- STEP TWO: If you are not already logged in (if you are not sure, look to the top right corner of your webpage to confirm), enter your e-mail address and password, and click “login.” (If you unable to login, please call 888.316.2776 to verify your password.) If you are registering for a class, hover your mouse over the “Training” tab in the blue ribbon, and select the Training Calendar from the drop down menu. You can search for your class by State, Type of Training, or Date. Click on the training that you would like to register for, and you will be navigated to the “Details” page. Then, click the blue “Register” button to register for this class, and follow the directions.
- Do I have to set up an account every time I want to take a class? No. Please do not create a new account. If you have ever trained with NASRO, you already have an account. If you cannot log in to your account, please call 888.316.2776 to verify information on your existing account. If you set up another account, it will cause issues with obtaining your certificates.
- How do I get a copy of my certificate if I attended a class? If you have attended a class, then you have a NASRO account. Once you are logged in, the first page will say “MY ACCOUNT” in gold letters on the left side of the page. Below that you will see a link for “My Certificates.” Click this link, and examine the chart of events you’ve attended. Complete the course survey (click on “Take Survey” to the right of the event), and after doing so, download your certificate.
- How do I get a copy of my Membership card? Membership cards can be found under your “My Account” page. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and select “Print membership card” in the blue box.
- Do I receive a free membership when I attend a class or conference? You will only receive a free membership if you paid the non-member rate for a class or conference or the early-bird conference rate.
- When will you have a class in my state? Classes are listed as they become available. Agencies that are interested in hosting a class in their area are invited to submit a host packet for approval. Once the class is approved, it is immediately posted on the website. Monitor the website for new class postings. If you are interested in hosting a class in your area, please contact NASRO Training Director Kerri Williamson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Where are upcoming classes listed? Classes are listed under “Upcoming Events” on the home page. Due to the number of classes scheduled, a complete list of classes can be found on the Training Calendar under the Training tab.
- How many seats are left in the class before it is full? Seat availability and other needed information can be found on the specific class’s page, found under the Training Tab.
- Can I hold/reserve a spot in a class? No. Spots cannot be held. If you register yourself in order to “hold” a spot, you will be subject to a cancellation fee/transfer fee. If you really need to get someone registered in a class but do not currently know who that person will be, please keep an eye on the number of seats remaining. If the class is filling up quickly, contact our office at 888.316.2776 and we will make every effort to assist you.