What do High School Resource Officers do?

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Have you ever wondered what your school resource officer does during the school day? School resource officers do a lot more than you think they do, they keep the school safe and up and running. They keep track of traffic on the school premise, attend school meetings, patrol and monitor the school building, hold and attend personal conferences, investigates transportation complaints, make necessary arrests and of course run lockdown drills and other safety drills.

Resource officers for high schools are regular police officers that are assigned to the high school through their cities. Officer Zelenka, resource officer at Brunswick High School gives us the inside scoop. “We’re not paid by the school to be here. Our police department sends us here, technically we are on patrol.” When resource officers aren’t working in the school, you can usually find them out patrolling the city and acting on other police duties. “I’ve pulled over a few kids from the high school for traffic violations. It takes a lot to make me feel awkward, I love the kids and I love to play around with them. It only gets awkward when I catch them doing something bad such as drugs or drinking alcohol and I can’t cut them a break. That’s when it becomes awkward is when they’re looking at me for help and it’s like I can’t help you, you need to get in trouble for this.”

In the last decade, the number of mass shootings in the United States has rose immensely. More police officers are being employed at schools, for the soul purpose of school shootings. Resource officers are trained and well prepared in case of a mass shooting. “Compared to other districts, Brunswick’s is one of the best. Our department always gets us the most intense training. We are ready if something like that were to happen. We wouldn’t be here if we weren’t prepared to run as fast as we can towards a threat. We are here to protect everyone,” according to Zelenka. Although you can never truly prepare yourself for a horrible act of terrorism, school resource officers try to mentally prepare themselves to the best of their ability. “We’ve had a few scary instances where there was the possibility of a school shooting. Rumors have spread that this kid brought a gun to school or this kid brought a knife to school. It’s scary, but you have to remember that there could be lives on the line and that you need to do whatever you can to protect everyone,” says Zelenka.

School resource officers monitor school buildings to make sure all kids are accounted for and safe during the school day. They make sure no drugs are being used or dealt, including vapes and cigarettes. With reasonable suspicions, resource officers are allowed to search you, your book bag and locker. If caught with an illegal substance during school, you can be arrested by  the school resource officer. They also make sure no fights break out and the few that do break out, they break them up immediately. With fighting at school, you risk getting sent to court or even arrested. “The most common thing I deal with on a regular day is mental health issues involving students. It’s not like i’m arresting them, it’s more like I find them to try and calm them down because there is that fear that they could have an explosion and hurt either themselves or their peers,” Zelenka says.

School resource officers deserve a lot more credit than they are given. They do so much for our students and staff. They care about our safety and want nothing but the best for us. So next time you see your school resource officer, offer them your thanks!