Proposed bill requires yearly training for school resource officers

Suzie Glassman

By: Suzie Glassman/NewsBreak Denver

(Castle Rock, CO) Colorado’s school resource officers aren’t required to complete any training beyond what’s necessary to become a police officer, even though their role often requires them to serve as law enforcement, teacher, and informal counselor. A new bill proposed by state Sen. Chris Kolker hopes to change that.

Kolker, a Democrat from Centennial who serves on the senate’s education committee, said the current law encourages officers to receive training based on best practices from the National Association of School Resource Officers (NARSO) but doesn’t require it.

According to the association, “School-based law enforcement is the epitome of community-oriented policing and therefore the school resource officer should be familiar with community-oriented policing concepts.”

These concepts include training in adolescent brain development, social and emotional development, supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion, improving youth decision-making skills, and trauma-informed practices.

Kolker’s bill would require school officers to complete mandatory training provided by Colorado’s Peace Officers Standards and Training Department before or within six months of their hiring and once annually after that.

Kolker told Westword, “Continuous training keeps it fresh and more responsive to changing needs. With that initial class, everyone needs their training, and then you’re done.

“Five years later, you only had that one training. How are you staying up to date?”

DougCo SRO training

According to the DougCo Sherrif’s website, the county’s school officers complete the association’s best practices training annually and “attend periodic refresher training sponsored by the Colorado Association of School Resource Officers, locally and nationally.

Yet, DougCo school officers aren’t required to complete the same crisis prevention training as the district’s special education teachers, staff, and administrators working with students with disabilities.

Many DougCo special education advocates would like to see the county’s school officers included in these training sessions so they better understand how to calm dysregulated children without resorting to handcuffing or restraint.

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I'm a reporter covering the Douglas County School District in Colorado.

Denver, CO

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