In 1979, the Edmonton Police Service entered into a unique partnership with the Edmonton Public and Edmonton Catholic School Boards, creating a police presence within four Edmonton high schools. Currently, there are 26 SROs working across 31 junior/senior high schools in Edmonton.
Over the past 40 years, the role of the School Resource Officer has changed dramatically. A primary function of the School Resource Officer today is to assist the school administration in ensuring a "safe and caring place of learning" for students and staff, balancing enforcement with prevention and intervention.
School Resource Officers:
- Are a visible presence in the school and the community through counselling, structured class presentations, lectures, continual interaction, mentoring and distribution of educational resource materials;
- Work cooperatively with school administrators, staff, students, parents, and the community to proactively identify and address school concerns or problems;
- Utilize problem solving initiatives to address issues in schools; and
- Conduct investigations and enforce laws/statutes.
The School Resource Officer position is a very rewarding experience for police members, as friendships develop over time with both students and staff. The position provides opportunities to develop strong public speaking, coaching and leadership skills.
The School Resource Officer (SRO) Program is still recognized as one of the first community-based initiatives undertaken by the EPS - it is community policing in its purist form.
Recently, SRO Constable John Sorensen's story was featured as a "True Blue Friend".
"Every day, Cst. John Sorensen, a School Resource Officer for Wagner High School positively impacts the lives of high school students like Yusef and his friends. Each year 33,000 students are supported by the EPS and School Resource Officer Program."