What does it take to become a School Resource Officer?

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Dixon High School’s School Resource Officer Mark Dallas is being hailed as a hero for preventing a possibly deadly shooting on Wednesday. But, what exactly goes into training and preparing School Resource Officers (SRO) for active shooter situations?

“I just hope that if a situation ever happens, I could react the same way he did,” said Officer Jerry Guetschow, who is stationed at Harlem Middle School.

Guetschow believes Officer Dallas’ actions potentially saved many lives. Guestchow said that when everyone runs away from danger, SRO’s are train to run toward it.

“The idea is to get there as quickly as possible, stop the threat as quickly as possible, and ultimately save as many lives [as possible],” he said.

Officer Emily Harrison has been the SRO at Hononegah High School. She considers Officer Dallas a hero and hopes she would react the way he did, if she were put in the same situation.

“I wouldn’t even want to think about what would’ve happened if he wasn’t there,” she said. “It’s just one of those things where you stand a little taller and walk a little prouder through the hallways.”

Office Harrison was on street patrol for six years before being reassigned to the Rockton school one year ago. She said that while the training to become an SRO doesn’t differ much from police training, there are some adjustments:

“Obviously, I have to navigate through a building which is a little different than navigating streets,” she explained. “With time, you sort that out, you figure it out. You can also share that information with officers on the street.”

While both Harrison and Guetschow hope they never have to face an active shooter, they say they’re ready.

“[People have said] ‘Oh my God! That could happen here and thankfully we have a police officer here.’ They appreciate that and feel a little safer having someone in the building,” said Guetschow.

Harrison added, “Incidents like that, officers stepping up the way he did, really make you proud to be an SRO, realizing that you do matter, and you’re put into this building for a reason, and it’s to protect the students.”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 42 percent of public schools report that they have at least one SRO present at least one day a week at their schools.

Officer Dallas’ heroic efforts caught the attention of Vice President Mike Pence who tweeted: “Another example of the brave work performed by law enforcement each and every day. Lives were saved thanks to the heroic actions of school resource officer Mark Dallas.”

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