The School Resource Officer (SRO) Program is a partnership between the Vernon Hills Police Department and the two school districts in Vernon Hills: Community High School District 128 (Vernon Hills High School) and Hawthorn District 73 (with a total of 6 schools). This partnership was formed in an effort to reduce crime, truancies, violence, underage drinking and drug abuse and to provide for a safe school environment. Currently, one officer is assigned to Vernon Hills High School and another officer is assigned to the middle schools.
The SRO has a diverse role in the school community and has many duties and responsibilities. The SRO's primary goal is to become a positive role model for the youth of the community. The SRO is specifically trained to perform the roles of law enforcement officer, law-related counselor and law-related education teacher. The SRO is in a unique position to make a significant impact on the youth of the community. The SRO helps to generate a positive understanding of the law enforcement community, and promotes good citizenship through daily interaction with the students and staff. In addition, the SRO works in collaboration with the school and the community as a resource for safety and security issues.
As a police officer, the school becomes the SRO's beat. The SRO assists the school administration in maintaining a safe and secure learning environment. School administrators and staff benefit from the SRO's training, knowledge and expertise in handling emergency situations, drug-related issues, underage drinking and truancies. The SRO is also responsible for investigating violations of criminal law and making arrests when appropriate. The SRO's sworn duty to enforce the law does not contradict the need for the SRO to be a positive role model - in fact, it supports it.
Detective Jim Koch, SRO VHHS Detective Andy Jones, SRO Hawthorn