SRO observes experiment in science classroom

Fargo Public Schools School Resource Officer Program

In a partnership with the Fargo Police Department (FPD), Fargo Public Schools (FPS) has seven School Resource Officers (SROs) assigned to each of our middle and high schools, along with a Cultural Liaison Officer stationed at Agassiz.  Students regard them as a regular part of their school environment. SROs attend school activities, mingle with students in the hallways, and conduct classroom presentations. Most importantly, they form trusted relationships with their students.

The FPS SRO program began in February 2000. The program received the “Model Program of the Year Award” in 2011 from the National Association of School Resource Officers, and has since become one of the leading school-based policing programs in the country. The SRO program serves two functions: building rapport between officers and youth and preserving school safety.

two rap musicians dance and sing with a police officer
Earlier this month, South High SRO Cristie Jacobsen (pictured above, middle) helped to organize a hip-hop lunchtime concert by rapper DPB and Crew at the school to foster relations between students, Fargo Police, and the school’s Criminal Justice Club.

Police officers from the FPD’s Field Services Division are assigned as full-time SROs. These officers have created and/or implemented numerous programs in our schools, including Smart Choices, Bright Futures (a fifth grade positive health behaviors course); Cass Clay Unified School Response; and Text-A-Tip. For more information on these and additional programs, access the project links posted to the FPS School Resource Officer web page, which is part of the Fargo Public Schools website.

As a non-traditional police assignment, school-based policing is perhaps one of the least understood law enforcement roles. There is no “typical day” for an SRO. The position requires flexibility, time management and multi-tasking skills, and well-developed interpersonal skills. SROs use creative problem solving tactics daily, and must maintain a calm, professional demeanor under the most demanding circumstances.

SRO duties include:

  •   Enforcing criminal and traffic laws at school campuses and neighborhoods
  •   Conducting classroom and community presentations on a variety of police subjects
  •   Building police-to-student rapport through informal, non-enforcement contacts and activities
  •   Acting as an informal youth counselor for many problems students encounter
  •   Using police experience and training to improve school safety and security
  •   Attending after-school events and activities, such as dances and sporting events
  •   Serving as a school liaison for residents in campus neighborhoods, addressing safety and crime concerns
  •   Acting as a law enforcement liaison with the schools, assisting with communication, crime prevention and
    criminal investigations on issues that may happen outside normal school hours

The School Resource Officer program is one way Fargo Public Schools is working proactively to create a safe and successful learning environment for all students.

Meet the School Resource Officers assigned to Fargo Public Schools for the 2017-18 school year. The individual officers’ biographies, contact information, Text-A-Tip numbers, and school building assignments are listed on the SRO page of the FPS website. Here you will also find archived copies of previously published “Safe Schools, Safe Kids” SRO columns, an opioid resource page, and an overview of SRO programs or projects.