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Muskogee deputies talk differences in school resources officers, patrol officers

SRO Training
School Resource Officer Car
Posted at 6:32 AM, Oct 18, 2023

MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Every year school districts in Green Country are adding more School Resource Officer's to their team.

But what is difference between an SRO and a patrol officer?

As the Muskogee County Sheriff's Office said it takes a special officer to do this type of work.

"They are a special breed of law enforcement. Not everybody can be an SRO," Captain Roger Posey said. "It takes that special person that has it in their heart that they want to help."

With the increase of SRO's, the Muskogee County Sheriff's Office saw a need to offer a basic training course.

It's being held this week in Muskogee and brings in officers from around Oklahoma, Missouri and Colorado.

The course is one 40-hour week teaching these officers things like crisis response, school and juvenile law, helping them develop teaching skills, and helping them learn how to be a resource and problem solver.

One difference between the two types of officers is patrol officers are more reactive since they spend their days working 911 calls, whereas school resource officers are more proactive, working to prevent anything from happening in schools.

There are also some differences when it comes to laws.

For example, to conduct a search in a school setting, in most cases an SRO only needs to have reasonable suspicion to conduct a search, whereas a patrol officer must have probable cause or a warrant.

But ultimately, SROs aren't in schools to arrest kids.

They are there to foster relationships with students and staff in the schools.

The National Association of School Resource Officers' instructor, Todd Runyan, said that relationship then translates out into the community.

"As a School Resource Officer, I had the ability to have positive interactions with most of my young people," Runyan said. "Even those students we had to hold accountable for an action, its not like I gave up on them. You still maintain your relationship with them before, during, and after whatever the incident was. You show them I'm holding you accountable, but you're still a person. You still have value, and that's fundamental. When people feel valued, they tend to make better choices."

2 News spoke with Muskogee Public Schools when they added their first SRO:

Muskogee County adds school resource officer

He said that turns into a future of people with a stronger sense of ethical decisions.

In the end, Runyan said it's fantastic to see schools adding more SRO's as the benefits of having them is astronomical.

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