School Resource and School Security Officers
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School Safety Center

School Resource and School Security Officers

School security personnel are available in many districts and schools to provide and promote safer schools and safer kids. It is important to distinguish among different categories of school safety and security personnel:

  • School Resource Officer (SRO) is a commissioned law enforcement officer in the state of Washington with sworn authority to make arrests, deployed in community-oriented policing, and assigned by the employing police department or Sheriff's Office to work in school to address crime and disorder problems, gangs, and drug activities affecting or occurring in or around an elementary or secondary schools. SRO funding can come solely from the school district or law enforcement agency, or from a combined funding source.
  • School Security Officer (SSO) also called Campus Safety Officer (CSO)is employed by the local school district for the purpose of maintaining order and discipline, preventing crime, investigating violations of school rules or policies, and detaining students violating the law or school board policies on school property or at school-sponsored events. Many SSOs and CSOs work in concert with SROs or local street officers to enforce rules or laws. A School Security Officer is also responsible for attempting to maintain the safety, security, and welfare of all students, faculty, staff, and visitors in an assigned school. Some SSOs or CSOs may be armed and carry tools on their belt similar to a sworn law enforcement officer; however, they do not have sworn authority or powers of arrest.
  • Private Security Firm Some schools or districts may also hire out their security efforts to private security firms. Personnel may function in much the same way as SSOs or CSOs, but they are employed by or through the private company. At times, private security may be hired to work times other than regular school hours.

Within the state of Washington, training for SROs and SSOs is most often done through the Criminal Justice Training Commission. For more information on SROs, visit:

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   Updated 8/6/2015

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