In accordance with the requirements of PA 100-984, the Board approved a preliminary draft for our School Resource Officer (SRO) program policies and curriculum at the last Board meeting. This allows for further review and feedback to be gathered before courses must be conducted and officers seek to complete training before the January 1, 2021 deadline.
This document was prepared in coordination with the Shriver Center on Poverty Law and is a culmination of feedback from stakeholders and interested parties, including current SROs, chiefs and sheriffs, school administrators, community advocates, parent groups, trainers, and Board staff. As the notes and feedback of those meetings were compiled, it became clear that the general consensus was for SROs to be trained in youth communication, recognition of hardships and disabilities, threat recognition and response, and the intricacies of Illinois’ juvenile protection statutes.
With this, Board staff conducted research as to the similar requirements in other states and learned of national trends and best practices in particular subject areas. We worked with the ILETSB Executive Institute on threat response practices, discussed current course structures with local and national trainers, and got feedback from officer organizations most effected by the original legislation. We also reached out to the City of Chicago and other jurisdictions that have already taken significant steps to increase SRO training and we developed methods to accommodate and recognize their preliminary accomplishments as we moved forward creating new requirements.
Ultimately, we determined that officers who had previously attended a recognized School Resource Officer Course may be eligible for a waiver if they also attended a juvenile law course and an active threat response course. These elements became the building blocks of the course and program we developed. Under this structure, officers have two options for attaining an SRO certificate, attend our course, or attend other Board-certified courses in the 3 topic areas.
Under the proposed program, the Board certificate for an SRO will be valid for two years and may be renewed. However, the idea of a continuing education requirement was also suggested by the legislative sponsors and stakeholders. With that, we will require each SRO to complete at least one update course in the three topic areas before a renewal will be granted.
Finally, we ask that officers have at least two years of experience after their initial date of hire before serving as an SRO and come to the position with an interest for serving the youth of the community. We believe that the course presented here represents the basic standard topics and points of instruction that we would require from any provider seeking to conduct this course throughout the state and affords instructors a great deal of flexibility to embellish and expand areas if desired.
If you wish to submit feedback regarding this program and curriculum you may do so during the month of March by emailing your comments to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to download the SRO Curriculum and Policies.