School Resource Unit

HSE School Safety

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School Resource Officer Unit History

Officers began working in Hamilton Southeastern (HSE) Schools in 1991. During those early years, The Fishers Police Department placed police officers in the Schools as DARE Officers. The DARE Officers often wore many hats while they were in their assigned buildings teaching the curriculum. When there were law enforcement needs, the DARE Officers would step in and take the appropriate action. The Officers also helped teachers, administrators and counselors with issues with students that needed counseling and in some cases a strong role model. The limitations of the program initially were that when the DARE curriculum was completed, the officers would not be a presence in the buildings any longer. There was also limited involvement in the high schools other than officers working as part time security. 

As the needs of the community changed and the size of the school district increased, a School Resource Officer unit was developed in 2002. The program was established as a cooperative effort by the schools and the police department after a grant was awarded to the department by the US Department of Justice. This program allowed the department to assign officers full time to the high school as full time SROs. This gave the high school officers that were SROs trained in the Triad concepts of school resource policing. The SRO Triad essentially means that the officer wears 3 distinct “hats” that describe the daily responsibilities of the SRO. The 3 components of the Triad are Teacher, Counselor and Law Enforcement Officer. 

Each SRO serves in some capacity in each of these roles. Depending on the situation the officer is dealing with, one role may be more dominant than the others. Flexibility and the ability to handle a wide range of incidents is extremely important to the effective SRO. The first officer trained in these Triad concepts by The National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) attended the basic course in 2003.

When the program began, 2 officers split the responsibility of providing service to 10,000 students in 13 school buildings including one high school. The SRO program grew to 3 officers serving 15,000 students in 18 buildings by 2005 which included a new second high school. This program became a great partner to the existing DARE unit that was working in the lower grades. In 2011, the SRO unit had grown to 4 officers and it was determined that the 2 units should be consolidated into one School Resource Unit. This allowed for DARE certified Officers to become NASRO trained SROs that could provide full SRO services to the lower grades while the existing SROs could focus on the SRO services necessary at the 2 large high schools.

The FPD currently has 8 officers assigned to the School Resource Officer Unit. Our school district has grown to serve students in 21 buildings that include the 2 high schools. Currently, there are 3 SROs assigned to the high school buildings and 4 officers assigned, one each, to the 4 junior high schools. These 4 officers are responsible to cover the elementary and intermediate schools that feed their junior high. The SRO Sergeant is available to support all SROs at all levels. The Captain of the SRO unit oversees the Support Division of the agency which includes other responsibilities. Although the Captain is involved in other areas of the agency, he is NASRO Certified and supports the school district with safety planning and administrative duties.

We are very fortunate to have a strong, productive relationship with the educators at all of our schools. The Hamilton Southeastern School District is now educating approximately 22,000 students and the responsibility of making the educational environment a safe place is our number one priority. The core responsibility of all of the officers is to provide for the safety of students and staff at all HSE Schools. We work closely with school administration on a variety of criminal and non-criminal safety and security concerns. SROs advise school administration on appropriate security and emergency preparedness for responses to topics like threats of violence. SROs are certified instructors in the ALiCE Active Shooter response for schools and train students and staff the wide variety of response options available in active shooter situations.

In 2018, the department made a shift from the DARE Program in favor of a home-grown program that allows for greater flexibility based on the needs of the community. Topics such as school safety, mental health and digital citizenship are included in classroom visits by the SROs.

In addition to classroom visitation, the SROs represent a heavy involvement in the district safe school projects. SROs are involved in many other school and community programs as well. These programs include the hugely successful Cops and Kids Holiday Program, The FPD Explorer Post, The Teen Academy, HSE Text-a-Tip and Pre-school and Day Care Safety Initiatives.

The ultimate goal is for SROs to be heavily involved in the school community to serve as officers, counsellors, teachers, coaches and role models. We also need to serve as a resource to the teachers, administrators and staff of all HSE schools. It is our goal to constantly improve what we do and strive for excellence in keeping our kids safe and providing a high level of service to our school and the community as well.

School Resourse Officer Placement

Officer Schools
Captain Mike Johnson
johnsonm@fishers.in.us
Administration / School Safety
Sergeant Andy Burks
burksa@fishers.in.us
Supervisor
Officer Matt Ruhnow
ruhnowm@fishers.in.us
Fishers High School
Officer Dave Pyle
pyled@fishers.in.us
FOCUS, Hamilton Southeastern High School, Fishers High School
Officer Kevin Sutton
suttonk@fishers.in.us
Hamilton Southeastern High School
Officer Alicia Ahnert
ahnerta@fishers.in.us
Cumberland Road Elementary, Hoosier Road Elementary, Sand Creek Elementary, Sand Creek Intermediate, Fishers Junior High
Officer Tracy Jones
jonest@fishers.in.us
Thorpe Creek Elementary, Geist Elementary School, Hamilton Southeastern Intermediate/Jr. High
Officer Robert Bowling
bowlingr@fishers.in.us
Harrison Parkway Elementary, Fishers Elementary, Lantern Road Elementary, New Britton Elementary, Riverside Intermediate/Jr. High, Hamilton Southeastern/Fishers Academy
Officer Shaun Williams
williamss@fishers.in.us

Durbin Elementary, Fall Creek Elementary, Brooks School Elementary, Fall Creek Intermediate, Fall Creek Jr. High, FOCUS