No police in schools?

Updated on 06/09/2022

The Mano a Mano Family Center supports the decision made in 2021 by the Superintendent of Salem-Keizer Public Schools (SKPS), Christy Perry, to not renew the contracts of school resource officers (SROs) assigned to several area schools.

We continue to support that decision as one that protects the wellbeing and dignity of our youth and children, for the following reasons:

What we paid for

For nearly 30 years, SKPS contracted with law enforcement agencies to have several SROs placed at area schools. By the time the decision was taken to permanently end the program (in 2021), SKPS was spending about $1 million annually on these contracts. According to The Statesman Journal article, “These costs covered 11 officers with both Keizer and Salem police departments, as well as the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, each covering the schools that fall within their agency’s jurisdiction.”

High Schools generally had an SRO assigned to each one; middle schools, generally, also had an SRO assigned to each school. However, NO elementary school ever had an SRO assigned to them. Officers were available to offer basic support, i.e., threat response, child protective investigations, and counsel regarding criminal behavior.

What we thought we were getting for our money was an SRO. According to the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO),

The school resource officer (SRO) is a carefully selected, specifically trained, and properly equipped full-time law enforcement officer with sworn law enforcement authority, trained in school-based law enforcement and crisis response, assigned by the employing law enforcement agency to work in the school using community-oriented policing concepts.”

National Association of School Resource Officers; FAQ:
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