Eureka Police Department
School Resource Officer Program
This program places a full-time police officer on the campus of the Eureka Senior High School. The veteran officer is a liaison between the Police Department and the school.
What is a School Resource Officer?
The School Resource Officer (SRO) program is the next step in Community Oriented Policing (COP). The SRO is an asset used by the community and the school in an attempt to address situations in the lives of students in a manner other than the judicial system.
The School Resource Officer program is a nationally accepted program involving the placement of a law enforcement officer within the educational environment. The officer is involved in a variety of functions while in the school aimed at prevention. In addition to being an active high profile law enforcement officer, the SRO is a resource for students, parents, teachers and administration regarding law issues. Another duty for the SRO is being a link to other service agencies who provide preventive and counseling services within the school district. Working hand-in-hand with the Principal in each school, the SRO assists with finding solutions to problems afflicting today’s school age children.
The SRO is a proactive approach to deal with the pressures that today’s youth finds itself having to confront. This includes the use of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco, along with peer pressure, gang activity, and sex. These situations are not only in the schools, but in the community as well. The approach of addressing these issues only in the school, or only in the community, has not been completely effective. Traditionally, police and schools did not interact until one called upon the other.
Are the Schools so bad we need SROs?
This is a question that was common with parents, teachers, and community leaders prior to the implementation of the SRO program in early 1995. The question is easily answered when you ask yourself the following: Wouldn’t you rather send your child to a school where there is an active law enforcement officer on duty, working with the school system, who acts quickly to solve problems?
While there have been some concerns within and around the Rockwood School system, an officer in the school is not a required necessity. Any time an officer is in an area that officer’s presence alone will deter behavior not normally accepted by society.
The Rockwood School District, the City of Eureka, and the Eureka Police Department, are working together to confront problems our students must face now. By addressing these issues together and proactively we become increasingly effective.
Throughout the United States each year over 200,000 violent crimes occur on school property. Each year 150,000 students stay home because they are “sick of violence and afraid they might be stabbed, shot, or beaten”. Every day in the U.S. 60 teachers are assaulted and 160 are threatened. It is estimated that between 100,000 and 135,000 guns are brought to school each day. During the 1992-93 school year, 91% of urban schools, 81% of suburban schools, and 69% of rural schools identified student vs. student assaults as the leading school related violent act.
Although most statistics are nationwide, we can see the trend. An SRO if utilized correctly should be the first line of defense against gangs, drugs, alcohol, and school violence. The Supreme Court recognized the effects that gangs and drugs have in our schools and has ruled that “gangs and drugs” are inherently dangerous. They have also stated that every student in the United States has the right to feel safe while attending school.
Through prevention programs, it is hoped that in the City of Eureka we can reverse the trends that are hurting our youth and education. The schools understand and believe that we hold the future of youth in our hands.
What do SROs do in the Schools?
The SRO works with the administration, educators, and counselors. The role each plays is dependent on the need of the situation. Eureka Senior High School is dedicated to providing an education to each of its students. With this goal in mind, all assets and services are pledged to this end.
A student with a suspected substance abuse problem is a different concern that a student being harassed or a student suspected in being involved in gang activity. No one person has the “final” say as to the solution to a situation, as each has differing roles, authority, and approaches. The tantamount concern is the student, the needs to be covered, and possible solutions.
Who is my child’s SRO?
Eureka Police Officer Mike Smith is the department’s SRO at Eureka Senior High School located at 4525 Highway 109.
How can I contact my child’s SRO?
By calling the Eureka Senior High School (636-733-3100) during school hours and asking for the SRO. However, if school is not in session or the switchboard is closed, one may contact the SRO at the Eureka Police Department (636-938-6600). One of the most important aspects of the SRO program is the ability of the officer to develop teamwork in fighting many problems that students of today are having. The SRO works with many agencies such as the Department of Human Services, health services, substance abuse counseling, mental health counseling, and parent, student, staff counseling, and the St. Louis County Family Court.
The basic outline of duties for the SRO are:
- To investigate crimes that occur within the school and on school property;
- To investigate crimes that occur in the community that involve students going to the officer’s school;
- To create a positive role model for students, creating a link between law enforcement and the students; and
- To be a resource for parents, staff, administration, and students in regards to law enforcement and community problems.
For additional information regarding the SRO Program contact Chief Michael Wiegand.