The training took place over three days. Sworn police officers learn to manage threats against schools, while working hand-in-hand with students and school administrators.
More than 20 Resource Officers came together to discuss solutions to problems they see in their districts.
They typically spend Monday through Friday with students and develop strong relationships with teachers and professors.
Deputy Nate Jacobson covers 2,300 students at Byron. He hopes to see the RSO programs expand to other districts.
“It is absolutely necessary that we are in schools not only for the safety of children, but also to have this positive interaction of law enforcement with children. To take that away would just be detrimental,” he says.
School Resource Officer Coordinator, Minnesota Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management Jennifer Larrive says there is some misconception surrounding the role of a school resource officer in schools.
She says they are not intended to place children in the criminal justice system, but rather the role is to be preventative, build relationships and be another trusted adult that students can turn to.
“They are there to prevent and deter acts of violence. School shootings have primarily driven many schools to fund these positions, although sometimes that is the main responsibility, we know there is so much more to it,” she says.
In Minnesota, it is not mandatory for law enforcement to attend these SRO trainings, but sheriffs and police chiefs in Minnesota and Olmsted County find it necessary.
Olmsted County has one school resource officer in Byron and one in Eyota in addition to five officers from the Rochester Police Department.