The Department of Public Safety and the Public School System have partnered for a training program that teaches police officers and school administrators how to be school resource officers.
The five-day training program, ending this Friday, will teach the 31 attendees how to be come school resource officers, or SROs.
An SRO does not only secure the safety and wellbeing of the students, but also build relationships with the students and their family.
Matt Liston, an SRO supervisor of an SRO unit in Wichita, Kansas, and Erick Resendiz, of another unit, are spearheading the training program by the National Association of School Resource Officers, or NASRO.
This is the first time Saipan is hosting a program such as this.
“We [try to get them] to implement what they know about law enforcement and being a patrol officer in a school full time, as well as being a counselor,” said Liston.
Liston said the job of an SRO extends beyond just providing security.
“An SRO is someone who builds relationships with students, somebody that is there and a friend to them,” said Liston. “At times, when the student go home, we see the family as well. SROs also go into the community because parents are just as part of the school as the student is, so the SRO also becomes a resource for their families as well.”
Cherlyn Cabrera, principal of Marianas High School, the school with the highest student population, supports the idea of SROs.
“We have training for police officers, certifying them to be school resource officers. SROs are assigned to different schools. For the Public School System, they are assigned to middle schools and our high schools. [The training] is also for our school leadership – we find out what are its benefits and what are the different ways SROs are helpful to the school and the students,” she said.
Cabrera understands the importance of programs such as this for DPS officers, especially considering how adolescents tend to think differently.
“They are not just there to prevent crimes and for security. They are there to build positive relationships. I am excited that the police officers here are getting this training because some of them will be assigned to schools,” said Cabrera.
Cabrera commended the efforts of PSS and DPS.
“I am glad PSS and DPS partnered together for this. The more training we have, the better we get at our jobs. We are trying to see how we can build relationships with students and how we could help them in a very deep way,” she said.