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School Resource Officers

The School Resource Officer (SRO) Unit of the Davenport Police Department is staffed by one sergeant and four officers. The unit reports to the Crime Prevention Bureau Commander within the Services Division while assigned to the Davenport Community School District.  During the school year, one officer works at Davenport Central High School and one officer works at Davenport West High School. The two remaining officers split time between the four Davenport Intermediate Schools. The sergeant is assigned year round to the school district. The SRO's are specially trained police officers who work in collaboration with school staff to provide a safe and equitable learning environment. The role of the SRO is rooted in the three key principles of safety, education, and mentorship. 

School Resource Officer Q & A

What is an SRO and why is it important? 
A School Resource Officer (SRO) is a specially-trained police officer who is deployed in a community-oriented policing assignment to work in collaboration with one or more schools. The role of the SRO is rooted in the three principles of safety, education, and mentorship. SROs work with the school to provide a safe and equitable learning environment, provide valuable resources to school staff, foster positive relationships with youth by way of example, and develop strategies to resolve problems affecting today’s youth such as the responsible use of technology and how to navigate an interaction with a police officer.

How many SROs are there? Where are they assigned? 
The SRO program includes one sergeant and four officers assigned to the Davenport Community School District (DCSD). During the school year, one officer works at Davenport Central High School and one officer works at Davenport West High School. The two remaining officers split time between the four Davenport junior high schools: Wood, Smart, Williams, and Sudlow. The Sergeant is assigned year round to the school district. 

Who pays for the SROs? What is the agreement between the DCSD and the City of Davenport? 
In August 2020, the DCSD and the City of Davenport approved a 28D funding agreement for the SRO program, in which DCSD reimburses the City of Davenport the cost of two DPD personnel assigned to district buildings. When approving the funding agreement, City Council requested the creation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City and the School District to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the SROs. The MOU ensures that the SRO program is administered equitably, effectively, and conforms to nationally accepted best practices. Both junior high positions are funded through a 28E funding agreement. Costs are shared between the City of Davenport, the DCSD, and the Bechtel Trust. The last position is paid for entirely by the City of Davenport. 

What was the process for drafting the MOU? Who was involved?
After the approval of the 28D, Mayor Matson convened a task force composed of elected City officials and staff, elected DCSD officials and staff, and representatives from community organizations such as NAACP and LULAC. The task force met several times to discuss the purpose and mission of SROs in school buildings, best practices for SROs, the collection and sharing of data, and how the SRO program will be evaluated annually. Task force members solicited feedback from a variety of community shareholders in drafting the MOU, including teachers, parents, community groups, and the DCSD Multicultural and Diversity Committee. The SRO MOU was officially approved by the Davenport Community School Board and the Davenport City Council in April 2021.

What, if any, data is collected on the SRO program? Is it available to the public?  
Yes, the MOU requires the Davenport Police Department to provide monthly reports of all SRO activity. This monthly report will be available to the public on both the City and School District websites and will include data relating to calls for service, juvenile charges, referrals to the diversion program, truancies filed, classes taught, P3 campus tips handled, Handle with Care notifications, and any other outreach programs the officers regularly participate in. By reporting this data monthly, the City and DCSD will be able to monitor the program to identify any trends that may be inconsistent with the MOU. 

How is the program evaluated?
As part of the MOU, the SRO program will be evaluated annually by the Mayor, School Board President, and administrative staff liaisons. The SRO program will be evaluated for its effectiveness in the three key areas of SRO involvement: safety, education, and mentorships/relationships. Elected officials and staff will use data from the monthly statistics, annual survey, and stakeholder feedback to ensure that the SRO program is meeting the objectives outlined in the MOU.

How are the School Resource Officers chosen? 
SROs are selected by the Davenport Police Department with input from the DCSD. Officers interested in this position must apply and go through a rigorous selection process. They are chosen based on their interest in this field, past performance, decision making, and their ability to work with students. SROs are evaluated every year, with input from school staff, to ensure the purpose and mission of the position is being carried out.  

Do the School Resource Officers receive any special training? 
Yes. Upon selection, all SROs receive training through the National Association of School Resource Officers. This unique training provides the SROs with an in-depth understanding of the role and functions of their position, provides a foundation on how to build positive relationships with students and staff, and teaches them how to assist school staff in providing a safe learning environment. 

What kind of problems do the officers handle in the schools? Are they responsible for handling disciplinary issues within the schools?
The primary duty and responsibility of the SROs is to assist the DCSD in creating an environment that leads to positive educational outcomes by preserving the individual safety and security of students and staff members. This includes resolving and de-escalating conflict between students, securing the building from intruders, and responding to calls for service at the schools regarding criminal matters. SROs do not proactively “police” school buildings but work with administrators to resolve criminal incidents as they arise. Addressing behavioral issues inside the classroom is the responsibility of DCSD educators and staff, NOT the SRO.

Do SROs participate in any other juvenile justice programs? 
Yes, School Resource Officers participate in the Scott County Juvenile Court’s Services diversion program by referring any student’s first simple misdemeanor to the program in lieu of receiving a citation or arrest. This program helps keep students out of the court system and gives them tools that prevent recidivism. Officers are also trained and participate in the District’s Crisis Response and Violence Prevention program and the Restorative Justice program administered by the Scott County Juvenile Detention Center.

School Resource Officer Glossary of Terms

Safety

Calls for Service: Any incident that results in a School Resource Officer (SRO) response to resolve, correct, or assist a particular situation. A call for service may either be handled by the officer or referred to the school.

Report: A computer-generated official record of facts gathered by an SRO documenting any complaint or information. 

Mediation: An informal conflict resolution in which an SRO acts as a mediator. This can take place in numerous informal ways between the school and a parent, parent and their child, or between students. Many times the SRO acts as another caring adult who works to find positive solutions for young people.

Juvenile Court Diversion:  In an effort to prevent the unnecessary entry of youth in the juvenile justice system, the Davenport Police Department and the Davenport Community School District partners with the Scott County Juvenile Court Services for this program that uses diversion options for first time offenders of non-traffic, simple misdemeanor offenses. The Diversion Class engages with youth and parents to get to know them, providing insight into potential consequences as well as providing them with the necessary guidance and feedback to make better choices and decisions.

Handled by School:  A call for service that is referred to school administration to be handled internally. For example, two juveniles who fight in school may face other consequences or other restorative practices or programs according to school/district policy.  

Resolved by Officer: A call for service in which an officer resolves an incident with no further action required.

Charged incidents: A total number of incidents resulting in a juvenile being charged with a crime.

Juveniles Charged (total charges): A total number of juveniles individually charged with a crime. It is possible for an individual to be charged with more than one crime during an incident so a total number of charges for the month is included in parenthesis. 

Home Visit(s): Any time in which an SRO is requested by the DCSD to respond to the home of a student regarding truancy, welfare checks, etc. to ensure the well-being of students and their families.   

Adult Truancy: A total number of criminal citations issued to the parent or guardian of a truant student as defined by IA State code 103 and DCSD policy 504.

Education and Relationships

Law and You: A guideline developed by NAACP, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Officers (NOBLE), and Allstate Insurance Company offering suggested procedures to follow when encountering a police officer or being stopped by a police officer regardless of  the reason. This 30-minute interactive presentation is given on a class by class basis by SROs to students throughout the junior high and high schools. 

Technology and the Law: A presentation given by SROs focusing on the proper use of today’s technology. Topics include protecting personal information, texting and driving, cyberbullying, etc.  

P3 Campus Tips: An anonymous tip reporting application designed specifically for the educational community. School community members can report a wide range of concerns, from mental health issues to threats of violence, through the P3 Campus mobile app. This is offered to every student and school in the district.

Handle with Care: A county-wide program enabling a police officer to report a traumatic encounter, where a child is present, to the appropriate school district in a timely manner. This allows a child’s school to implement appropriate procedures to handle the child with care. 

Other Outreach:  Any community policing event, formal or informal, in which an SRO participates in the activities of the school district community to promote learning, youth involvement, or safety.

Use of Force

Police Use of Force is defined by IA code §704 & §804.8 and Davenport Police standard operating procedures (#801). It is the policy of the Davenport Police Department to use reasonable force when force is necessary to accomplish lawful objectives and to use deadly force only in defense of human life or in defense of any person in imminent danger of serious physical injury. Every use of force incident is reviewed by direct supervisors through an internal process to ensure compliance and best practice. The most common types of force are defined below:  

Empty Hand Control:  Also known as “soft” or “empty hand technique.”  Officers use bare hands (no weapons) to hold or restrain a subject in order to achieve the desired result. This includes separating individuals during an altercation or redirecting by placing hands on a subject. This is the most common and least intrusive use of force.

Empty Hand Strike: The use of any body part such as bare hands or feet with no weapons to punch, kick, or strike in defense of self or another person from attack or to subdue an individual.

OC (Pepper) Spray Use/Display: OC spray is a less-lethal agent which acts as an inflammatory and has a naturally occurring base as opposed to a chemical base. Officers are issued OC spray as a less-lethal force option for gaining compliance of resistant or aggressive individuals in arrest and other enforcement situations. 

Taser Use/Display: The TASER is designed to control a subject through the use of electrical energy. They are intended to control a violent or potentially violent subject, or an individual that is attempting to harm themselves, while minimizing the risk of injury to an officer and/or others.

Deadly Force: Any force that is likely to result in serious injury or death. Deadly force may only be used in defense of human life or in defense of any person in imminent danger of serious physical injury.