School Resource Officers
The Little Elm and Denton Independent School Districts have contracted with the Little Elm Police Department to station officers, known as School Resource Officers (SROs) at various schools during the school day. This stems from the desire by both organizations to help make the learning environment as safe as possible for the students, staff and visitors. Learning happens when students and staff feel safe in their environment. The SROs also assist school in being informal counselors and mentors, providing positive role models to students.
The fact that students begin seeing officers as persons often times permanently alters their view of law enforcement in general, and police officers specifically, as elements of society that they can trust and turn to for help.
The police department contracts to provide officers for the Little Elm and Denton Independent School Districts. Officers are stationed at the Little Elm High School and at the Braswell High School. Lakeside and Navo Middle Schools, as well as Powell 6th Grade Learning Center also house full-time officers. The remaining lower level schools are patroled regularly.
In Little Elm, the junior high campus, elementary campus and administration are physically situated on adjoining sites making it easy for the officer on location to respond as needed to any of the locations.
Generally speaking, elementary schools have little need for officers, other than the occasional custody dispute or criminal mischief incident. Thus, this officer can do a great deal of pro-active work by going to different schools during lunch and visiting with students. It also gives the officer the ability to hold presentations on topics such as bullying, school violence, child lures, drug and alcohol awareness and much more.
This officer generally works out of an office provided by the district located at the middle school. Just as with the high school, older students tend to get into more law enforcement related situations. Having an officer at the middle schools provides much of the same advantages as those for having an officer at the high school.
As kids get older, they tend to get into more situations where law enforcement needs to become involved. Thefts, fights and other petty crimes happen with much more frequency at high schools than at lower levels of education. Having an officer on location provides the ability to immediately investigate criminal activity, isolate suspects faster, and in many instances, solve these types of crimes quickly.
Another advantage of having an officer stationed at the high school is that students and staff become comfortable with interacting with the officer, both professionally and as a person.