• Deputy Johnathen Marino

    Deputy Johnathen Marino





     The School Resource Officer Program is a collaborative effort by certified law enforcement officers, educators, students, parents, and the community to offer law related educational programs in the schools in an effort to reduce crime, drug abuse, violence, and provide a safe school environment. Our offices routinely accompany school groups as they travel to athletic and field trips.  Through this collaborative effort between the school districts and Sheriff Leon Lott, there is an SRO in each elementary school.  We are one of the first counties in the state to achieve this goal.

    The School Resource Officer Program places a law enforcement officer in a school full-time to provide a variety of support programs and services to the students and staff. The overall goals of the program are to maintain a safe and secure learning environment on the school campus, influence the development of positive attitudes by youth towards the law enforcement community, and to reduce juvenile crime through the use of intervention strategies, proactive policing, and networking.

    The SRO program is a community policing approach practiced within a school environment. In our middle and high schools one officer is assigned to one school. In our elementary schools our officer's cover two to three schools teaching the D.A.R.E. curriculum among other lessons. Generally speaking, this provides the maximum benefit for the school and the sponsoring law enforcement agency. The school becomes the officer’s beat.

    This is done by using the triad concept. The Triad Concept is a three stage approach.

    1. Law enforcement officer: The School Resource Officers are state certified law enforcement officers who serve as deputies for the Richland County Sheriff's Department. Before being chosen as a SRO, they go through a rigorous selection process. They are ultimately selected to be an SRO by a panel of Midlands’ educators and members of the Sheriff’s Department. The SRO’s are then required to complete a comprehensive School Resource Officer training program. These officers enforce all state and local laws and are at the school to maintain a safe and secure learning environment.
    2. Law-Related Educator: Once in their assigned school, the SRO's function is to serve as a positive role model for the students. This is accomplished through daily interaction with the students. The SRO will teach courses on topics such as Law Related Education, D.A.R.E., G.R.E.A.T., conflict resolution, internet safety, peer pressure and many more classes.
    3. Law-Related Counselor: As a counselor, the SRO serves as a resource to the students, their parents, and the school faculty. Students will often first approach them with personal, scholastic, family, or law-related problems. By networking and developing response checklists, the SRO is prepared to refer persons in need to appropriate agencies that can assist them. This is the most dynamic aspect of the SRO’s assignment (Being an active listener).