In today’s day and age, a police officer has to be much more than just a disciplinarian. He or she must foster relationships in the community as well as gain the trust of those they are serving. They have to get out of the police cruiser and talk to the kids playing basketball in the street and help the elderly if they see them struggling with groceries.
I remember when I was growing up, I lived on a dead end. The police did an outstanding job of always talking to me and my friends when we were playing hockey or basketball in the cul-de-sac. They also started handing out police officer cards to us which were awesome. We started trading them and trying to go out of our way to talk to police so we could collect all of the cards of the officers in the department. Youth actually wanting to see and find the police? What a phenomenal way to build trusting relationships.
When I was at Drexel University, this concept of community policing was starting to really evolve. It was an entire, mandatory course for criminal justice majors and was the focal point of our senior capstone project. It was evident, that this concept was here to stay. Getting police talking, being proactive and associating with members of the community seemed like such a simple idea it was crazy enough to work!
In the same way as police create a bond with those they serve, it is extremely crucial that school resource officers and security guards do the same. I’m pretty sure I say the word “proactive” in all of my posts but this is another example of demonstrating that.
Guards in schools need to take a vested interest in the children they are protecting. They need to be the first ones there and the last ones to leave showing a smiling face and greeting them as they enter and exit the building. Most importantly, they can’t be that tough guy or girl so much so that they become unapproachable.
In order to be successful, they must gain the trust of all of the students in the school so if something doesn’t seem right, the student will feel safe enough to tell the guard. They have to be liked by the students they serve. They shouldn’t be a disciplinarian or be expected to report minor infractions that do not affect the safety of the students, such as tardiness to class. The officers cant be “out to get” the kids and get them in trouble. After all, how can you feel comfortable going to someone you just genuinely don’t like?
The job of a school resource officer is a crucial one. Anyone worth the money needs to be personable, caring, talkative, trustworthy and well trained to take down any threats that will harm the students they care for.
Be proactive. #ExpelFear
Until next time,