The Rifle Police Department currently has one sworn officer assigned as an SRO, Officer Stephanie Straw. The SRO is primarily assigned to Rifle High School but also works with Rifle Middle School, Highlands Elementary School, Graham Mesa Elementary and Wamsley Elementary School.
School Resource Officer Program
What is an SRO? SRO is a an abbreviated and common term for a School Resource Officer.
The School Resource Officer program (SRO) is a nationally accepted program involving the placement of a law enforcement officer within the educational environment. Although School Resource Officer programs have been in the schools since the 1960's, programs have grown expediently over the past several years, particularly in response to the increase in school related violence.
The Need for an Officer
A question frequently asked is "Are the schools so bad that we need a cop there everyday?" The answer is No. The Officer is there as a resource for students, parents, teachers and administration. The Officer can assist grades K-12 with safety related topics for the elementary schools to issues affecting teens in high school such as use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco, gang activity, and sex. These situations are not only in the schools, but in the community. The SRO program is designed to be proactive.
When successful, the program has proven to be a very positive asset to the school and community. And of course, should their be an issue needing the attention of Law Enforcement arise, that service is readily available. In some cases, the simple presence of an Officer is deterrent enough for many bad behaviors.
How the Program Works
How does it work, what does an SRO do? The basic concept for the duties of an SRO include creating a positive role model for students, creating a link between law enforcement and the students, and being a resource for parents, staff, administration, and students in regards to law enforcement and community problems. The SRO is also available to investigate crimes that occur on school grounds. The program functions on three levels consisting of law enforcement, student counseling, and law-related education.
Law Enforcement - The SRO is not a school disciplinarian, but does work with the school administration when a violation of criminal law has occurred. The SRO is a sworn Police Officer employed with the Rifle Police Department.
Student Counseling - The predominate amount of time the Officer spends in the school is dedicated to a variety of functions aimed at prevention. Another duty for the SRO is being a link to other service agencies which provide preventive and counseling services within the school district. Working hand in hand with the school administration, the SRO can assist with finding solutions to problems affecting school age children.
Law related education - Besides being an active law enforcement officer, the SRO is a teacher. In the classroom, an SRO can present topics with relevance to the students lives.