School Resource Officers train ahead of back-to-school

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(ABC 6 News) – As students and families are getting ready to head back to school in the next few weeks, local law enforcement and school resource officers (SROs) are also gearing up.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety held training in Rochester on Thursday for SROs around the state.

Current SROs say they are training to keep students safe, but the job is also so much more than that.

Deputy Nate Jacobson is in Byron schools every school day. He attends football games and graduation parties.

"In all reality, 99 percent of what I do is just building relationships with these young kids," Jacobson said.

Jacobson says school resource officers are not trained to police kids.
"I can have a chat with them, but it’s not going to be me sitting them down and telling them I’m going to slap cuffs on them. I’m not some enforcer."

They are trained to foster positive interactions with students and encourage them to ask for help, whether it’s at home or school. They are also trained to listen and support.

In worst-case scenarios, SROs are trained to respond to active threats like school shooters.

"It was covered almost every day," Jacobson said of the training.
"Parents want to know. They want to know that their kids are safe. They want to know that they’re going to come home at the end of the day," said Jennifer Larrive, the school resource officer coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

Authorities say having a school resource officer familiar with students, staff, and the school’s layout is invaluable in a crisis situation.

There are currently two school resource officers with the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office and five with the Rochester Police Department.