For many, the idea of having a police officer in a high school or middle school may seem foreign; however, since 1950 it has become commonplace with the creation of the school resource officer program. The Littleton Police Department (LPD) has long had school resource officers (SRO), and in since 2015 has seen growth within the program.
Initially, the program consisted of one roaming officer for the middle schools, and two officers assigned to their respective high schools. The SRO program now includes an SRO for each middle school as well as a corporal supervisor position which is assigned to Options Secondary Program. This growth was made possible by a joint contribution from LPD and Littleton Public Schools (LPS). The police department and the school district split not only the salary of the officers, but also the costs associated including an assigned SRO vehicle and their uniforms.
With officers assigned full time to the school, a unique relationship is created between students and their respective SRO. Any patrol officer will tell you the first thing a school-aged child asks is, "Do you know my SRO?" This is generally followed by a story of their interactions, from a time they needed a ride home to sports small talk. The SRO provides a first look for school-aged children at interaction with law enforcement, while serving a significant role to the school as a liaison for the police department. The SRO assists with missing juvenile reports, safe-to-tell reports, and maintains a safe environment for the children, rather than issuing citations and performing in an enforcement capacity.
The SRO at Heritage and Littleton High Schools can be found in the morning prior to the first bell in the front lobby interacting with faculty and students alike. School resource officers have a passion for the community they serve. Officers are assigned to a school for a four-year term to create stability and consistency for the students, school, and officers. The position entails not only a school-year schedule, but also additional duties to include dances, sporting events and other special activities.
Littleton High School SRO Jason Gallardo works with the school yearly to organize an Alive at 25 event for Littleton High School Seniors. During the event a group of officers and LPD volunteers provide demonstrations and critical information regarding real world decisions that can help prepare them for their years following high school. These include interactive stations with scooters with "drunk goggles," defensive driving in the LPD ATV and a Police K9 demonstration. This is just one of the many ways the Littleton Police Department school resource officers interact, and try to make a positive difference in the lives of their students.
School resource officers provide an invaluable resource; they can offer insight into family life of students, help uncover where a runaway might be staying based on friends and common practices, and are the first to be looped in when a student is involved in a situation. Littleton Police Department is proud to call six of their own, school resource officers.
- Corporal J. Hanna - Options Secondary Program
- Officer J. Gallardo - Littleton High School
- Officer A. Rodriguez - Heritage High School
- Officer T. Fisher - Powell Middle School
- Officer J. Fountain - Euclid Middle School
- Officer J. Beals - Goddard Middle School