First Responders and Resource Officers

Homeland Security begins with Hometown Security

As the world revolves and the future unfolds, complex challenges which threaten our safety and security may arise. Law enforcement officers and emergency response professionals are the primary line of defense for U.S. communities. They are trained and certified in actions of resilience, preparedness, and response capabilities.


School Resource Officers (SRO) are sworn law enforcement officers with arrest authority and additional specialized training for collaboration with school organizations during their assignment.  Should a school shooting occur, law enforcement officers are the ones who rush to the scene, neutralize the shooter, assist victims, and secure the site.  They are trained in school Safety to act as the first line of defense. Their presence at school facilities and on-campus allows them to build the kinds of relationships with students, faculty, and staff that can prevent or mitigate incidents of school violence.


At a meeting of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which was held in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, Commission members (including the parent of victims) raised specific concerns regarding the school personnel training and their actions during the tragedy. Effective training is critical, making it imperative that schools regularly review training protocols to ensure that every School Resource Officer, School Security Officer, teacher, administrator, and student are as prepared as possible to respond to incidents of school violence within the framework of a comprehensive school safety plan.


In addition, every school district and individual school needs a coalition from the community for the purpose of enhancing the safety of students and the security of schools. As noted in the Final Report of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, "The successful implementation of Safe Schools Design and Operations strategies requires the support of 'Local Champions.'" A school's security community of interest begins with its teachers, administrators, other staff, parents, and students and includes external partners like local first responders, social workers, and elected officials. These groups can collaborate to develop emergency operation plans that establish protocols for handling all types of potentially hazardous incidents; natural disasters, accidents, and deliberate attacks. A strong coalition can help carry the message to the rest of the community and minimize resistance to necessary security measures.