School Resource Deputies: In a Class of their Own

SRO Officer Barry French speaks to a student. French is busy splitting his time between two schools: Tamarac Elementary and Challenger Elementary.

SRO Officer Barry French speaks to a student. French is busy splitting his time between two schools: Tamarac Elementary and Challenger Elementary.

Sheriff Scott Israel

Sheriff Scott Israel

A message from Sheriff Scott Israel:

The safety of our children and our schools is a top priority of the Broward Sheriff’s Office.  Today, as a measure of that commitment, we have school resource deputies (SRDs) serving in 54 Broward County schools in the communities we serve.

Unfortunately, recent national tragedies have made us all too familiar with active-shooter scenarios and the public safety challenges they present. That is why our SRDs also train school staff in how to respond immediately to an active-shooter situation to save lives.

BSO’s training for educators puts an emphasis on realism to simulate the stressful conditions of quickly responding to a violent rampage. In our training, teachers can smell the gunpowder and hear the blasts of a shotgun.  The deputy playing the role of the shooter will yell out the names and threats to the teachers and their students. The responses to this realistic training are primal – providing the most effective preparation.

In an active-shooter scenario, the minimum response time for law enforcement to a school without SRDs is two minutes.  Two minutes, though quick, is an eternity when lives are in danger. In fact, most active shooter incidents end within a few minutes after the shooting began.  Learning how to keep themselves and their students alive for every extra second is critical. This active-shooter training empowers the teachers, administrators and other employees within the school to take life-saving action if an incident occurs.  Teachers know their classrooms better than anyone.  The active-shooter training prepares teachers to act quickly and calmly, to block places of entry and to find secure hiding places for students.

SRDs are not just protectors and trainers, but also positive influences in the lives of our young people.  They have the ability to turn a child’s life around by being a counselor and a mentor.

Bullying is a serious problem in our schools and a leading cause of teen suicide. SRDs are in a unique position to impact the root causes of bullying, often intervening by speaking with the children and parents. However, the intervention doesn’t end there. SRDs also teach many classes in order to keep our youth safe from the dangers of bullying, sexual predators and narcotics.

The interview process for deputies who want to become SRDs is tailored to find the right fit for our schools.  We make sure the applicant is interested and invested in the lives of children and has the skills and personality to help children. By reaching out to youth and providing a little guidance, we can keep our kids from going down the wrong path. A child we set straight today is an adult we don’t have to worry about tomorrow.

Our SRDs select deserving students for special rewards during two of BSO’s biggest annual community events:  “Shop with the Sheriff” and our winter holidays bicycle giveaway.  Both events are designed to help support the positive development of disadvantaged children.

The protection, training and proactive youth outreach performed by BSO SRDs complement the efforts of our educators to make our schools safer and help ensure the bright future of our children.

Sheriff Scott Israel

Certain Broward cities like Coral Springs maintain their own police departments, however, BSO does provide communications and dispatch services to the following cities: Central Broward, Cooper City, Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach, Ft Lauderdale-Hollywood Int’l Airport, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Lauderdale Lakes, North Lauderdale. Oakland Park, Parkland, Pembroke Park, West Park, Pompano Beach, Port Everglades, Tamarac, Weston and unincorporated West Broward.

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