Episode 45: Student Resource Officers
Thanks to 17 Student Resource Officers who work throughout Canyons District, CSD schools are safer and students are more supported than they’d otherwise be without these hard-working, dedicated and caring public servants on the job.
With Wednesday, Feb. 15, having been designated as National School Resource Officer Appreciation Day, Canyons District extends a heartfelt thank you to the SROs who strive daily to improve the lives of students, teachers, staff and administrators at our schools.
“We have kids that can look to our SROs as role models and trusted individuals and trusted adults,” said CSD Administrator Charisse Hilton, who collaborates with the officers and school administrators. “They’re working as advocates for kids.”
Two of the District’s most respected SROs, Officers Shay Ballard and Kelly Taylor, joined Hilton as guests on the latest episode of the Connect Canyons podcast for a riveting and insightful chat about SROs’ roles and responsibilities, challenges and opportunities, and rewards.
Ballard and Taylor agreed that the relationships they build with students is the most gratifying and important part of their jobs.
“We’re huge in advocating for the students. As much as (some people) might think that we’re just out to get ‘em or punish ‘em, no, that’s not the reward,” Ballard said. “The reward’s not how many tickets or many arrests did I get. It’s, ‘Who did I save?’”
“I think that being an SRO is probably the best kept secret in law enforcement,” Taylor added.
As noted in a press release from the National Association of School Resource Officers, the assignment is unique within the law enforcement profession. SROs fill a three-part role. They act as informal mentors or counselors, as law educators and as law enforcement officers to support the students and communities they serve.
“They are valuable and essential members of the education community who deserve unwavering respect and support from the public in the pursuit of keeping schools and students safe,” the NASRO added.
Hilton, who’s worked with SROs as an admin in schools and for the District for 30 years, said it takes a special kind of officer to be an SRO. That’s never been truer.
“We’ve seen such a change in behavior since Covid. We’ve seen the evolution of vaping. Our SROs are learning and educating themselves and participating in training, and so are we,” Hilton said. “I think that’s an important piece to understand, too. We’re always trying to do better and to serve better.”