School Resource Officers

sro lamendola2The School Resource Officer (SRO) is a certified law enforcement officer who is permanently assigned to provide coverage to a school or a set of schools. The SRO is trained to performthe following three roles: law enforcement officer; law-related counselor; and law-related education teacher. The SRO is not necessarily a DARE officer, security guard, or officer who has been placed temporarily in a school in response to a emergency crisis, but rather acts as a comprehensive resource for his or her school.

Implemented in 2000
The School Resource Officer (SRO) position was started by the Dixon Police Department in 2000. The SRO position was originaly funded by the COPS federal grant to help prevent school violence. During this time, the United States suffered the loss of students who fell victim to school shootings, which led to the evolution of the SRO. The School Resource Officer's main responsiblity is the safety of the students and staff at the schools. Even though the School Resource Officers have offices at their designated schools and spend the majority of their work day at those schools, they are still full time sworn officers with the Department. The SRO must work closely with the students and staff while acting as a liason for the police department.

Anthony_J._QuadraroThe first SRO was assigned to the Dixon High School. Current DHS SRO is Jason LaMendola (pictured top right),

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. The SRO program was such a success at the high school level that another officer was assigned to the Reagan Middle School in 2002. Current RMS SRO is Tony Quadraro (pictured bottom right),
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.  The School Resource Officers work hand in hand with the school administrators and teachers. The officers not only perform everyday police duties they also help teach classes and counsel students.

Duties of the School Resource Officer

  1. To prevent juvenile delinquency through close contact with students and school staff.
  2. To establish liaison with school principals, faculty, and students.
  3. To teach the students about their rights and responsibilities as lawful citizens.
  4. To provide liaison between students and other social agencies which provide needed services.
  5. To investigate criminal law violations occurring in the school or on school property.
  6. To assist the school and police in conducting criminal justice related programs such as Peer Court and the Quick Fifty program.
  7. To formulate educational crime prevention programs that help reduce the opportunity for crimes in the schools.
  8. To participate in the Parent-Teacher-Student Association meetings.
  9. To participate in campus activities, student organizations, and athletic events when needed.
  10. To be aware at all times of the responsibility to improve the image of the uniformed law enforcement officer in the eyes of the students and the community.

Message to Parents

Every child is different and changes in moods or attitudes, unusual temper outbursts, changes in sleeping habits, and changes in hobbies or other interests are common teenage behaviors. Some of these changes may also indicate drug use. If you have questions or concerns, talk to your kids. You can also feel free to send me an e-mail and I will respond as soon as possible.

Behaviors to look for
You may notice, and perhaps dismiss some of the things in the list below. While no one item signals drug use, all are signs to look for. If several have happened in your family, there may be a greater cause for concern.

  • Increase in need for money
  • Increased secrecy, i.e. use of coded language
  • Loss of personal property (items sold for cash)
  • New friendships that don't fit the norm
  • Change in eating or sleeping habits
  • Change in behavior, i.e.; violence, lying, betrayal of trust, apathy
  • Sudden loss (or gain) of weight without cause
  • Increase in illness/injury
  • Change in school behavior/grades

Things to watch for

  • Original or homemade pipes of any kind (pipes may be made of metal, wood or household items of any kind and usually have a burnt residue/odor)
  • Incense, room deodorants to hide odors
  • Eye drops
  • Missing prescription medication
  • Plastic baggies of any size/type
  • Small zip-lock baggies with designs on them.
  • Extra, unexplained cash
  • Valuable items described as belonging to a "friend."
  • Matches and lighters
  • Drug related graffiti, music or symbols in room or on clothing.

The best defense is a good offense. Stay in touch with your child's friends. Invite them to your house and observe their behavior. Are they comfortable around adults? Are they unusually secretive?

Take time to listen (really listen) to your kid's music.
Ask questions of your kids or check for a description of the type of message a particular group gives. You can check the words at the following web site: http://www.lyrics.com.

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How Downtown Dixon Has Changed Since 2000

 

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Some of the content on this page is courtesy of Bob Gibler.