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New Jersey Launches Program for SRO-Trained Special Law Enforcement Officers

NCJ Number
250925
Date Published
Author(s)
Becky Lewis
Annotation
This article describes New Jersey’s training program for school resource officers (SROs) begun in 2017 under a new option that permits schools to hire retired law enforcement officers who meet specific conditions.
Abstract
Thanks partly to the actions of the New Jersey Association of School Resource Officers (NJASRO), these officers will assume their new responsibilities in the academic year beginning on July 1, 2017, with the same training received by sworn officers serving as SROs. The pertinent State law permits the hiring of a third special classification of officers in New Jersey. The law designates a new Class III Special Law Enforcement Officer (SLEO), who can be hired as a SRO under the following terms: no benefits; can work full-time hours, limited to when students are present in the schools; no older than age 65; and retired within the past 3 years (with a 1-year start-up exemption of 5 years for the 2017-2018 school year only). The SLEOs are required to complete a 40-hour training course for SROs developed by the NJASRO for implementation in police academies throughout the State. The training covers areas that include the roles and responsibilities of an SRO, such as instructional time, threat and risk assessment, and working with school personnel. Other topics covered in the SRO training are legal issues, such as search and seizure; outreach program; interviewing and processing; teaching methodologies; mentoring; working with administrators; bullying prevention; and a new section on community-college policing and how it differs from policing in public schools. Although other States may already allow schools to hire retired officers, no other State has a formalized training program like the one in New Jersey.
Date Created: June 27, 2017