The role of the School Resource Officer

By Susan Black

For seven years, Ron Hollar has helped make one of Topeka Unified School District 501’s six middle schools “a safer place.”

Hollar, an officer with the Topeka Police Department, arrives daily at Robinson Middle School in a marked police car. Armed and in uniform, he strolls through the school before classes start to learn of potential problems from students and staff. Some days he meets with the school’s social worker, and some days he teaches classes. Every day, he tries to build trust with the school’s 420 students, all of whom he knows by name.

John Warner, with Missouri’s Columbia Police Department, also has served seven years as a school resource officer (SRO). He spends most of his time patrolling Columbia Public School’s West Junior High and making “positive connections” with students.

Warner strives to keep students safe. For instance, he routinely checks with officers on road patrols for signs of trouble in nearby neighborhoods. From experience, he’s learned that domestic violence and bullying can quickly spill over inside the school or into the school yard.

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