School Resource Officer/D.A.R.E.
The School Resource Officer Program is a collaborative effort by certified law enforcement officers, educators, students, parents, and the community to offer law related educational programs in the schools in an effort to reduce crime, drug abuse, violence, and provide a safe school environment.  The program here in Falmouth is 100% funded by the Police Department.

School Resource Officer (SRO) programs have been in schools since the 1960's.  Although the placement of law enforcement officers in schools has grown tremendously over the past decade, the move to do so appears to have increased dramatically following the school shootings of the late 1990s.  We started with the DARE program here in Falmouth in 1993 and transitioned into a full time SRO position in 2002.   Does the presence of police in schools create an "armed camp" or a "prison-like" environment as some opponents claim?  Absolutely not!

In fact, most SROs (and other school safety personnel) will tell you that they have prevented far more incidents from occurring than they have made actual arrests.  SROs typically focus their functions on the "Triad Model" consisting of law enforcement, student counseling, and law-related education.We provide educational opportunities for every grade level.  To fully understand this aspect of school safety, SROs and school-law enforcement relationships must be viewed as the first-line of prevention, not as being punitive or prison-like.

Unfortunately, a lack of understanding of SRO programs by many representatives of academia, the media, elected officials, and others have resulted in misinformation and misrepresentation of the programs as being reactionary and punitive when in reality, they are actually very proactive and preventative when professionally implemented by school and law enforcement officials. We find it somewhat ironic that these same individuals typically do not question the presence of police and security measures elsewhere in society, such as at banks, malls, and other public places. It is a rather sad statement that some people in our society would rather protect their money and their shopping conveniences better than our children and educators!

If we believe (appropriately so) that violence in schools reflects violence from our broader communities, what better of a link can we have between crime prevention in the community and crime prevention in the schools than by having a SRO program and positive, meaningful school-law enforcement partnership?

The true and tested strength in the School Resource Officer program is that it is much more than a curriculum. The SRO Concept can easily be adapted to the needs of Falmouth, striving for safe schools, and effective community partnerships.

Links
National center for missing and exploited children