Assisting with SRO program review
Poudre School District's Community Advisory Council (CAC) is assisting the district with reviewing the School Resource Officer (SRO) program to help determine if the program will continue in PSD schools.
In spring of 2020, members of PSD communities expressed concerns about the presence of school resource officers in PSD's schools. Concerns included but weren’t limited to the existence of a school-to-prison pipeline and the lifelong impact it has on some students in our schools, particularly students of color. The PSD Board of Education directed the school district to conduct a comprehensive review of the issue to determine whether to continue the SRO program.
The CAC, made up of community and PSD representatives, is an important part of the district's comprehensive review, which includes community engagement, data analysis, feedback and recommendations to the board.
Board of Education approves 2021-22 SRO contracts, SOPs
On June 29, the PSD Board of Education voted to approve 2021-22 school year updated school resource officer standard operating procedures and agreements with the district’s contracted law enforcement agencies: Fort Collins Police Services, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and Timnath Police Department.
The standard operating procedures (SOPs) provide direction to the district and agencies to ensure shared understanding of the role of SROs. The agreements and SOPs were revised with PSD’s contracted law enforcement agencies and input from the Community Advisory Council and stakeholders.
For more information about the SRO program and 2021-22 evaluation plan, please visit the School Resource Officer Program web page.
May 11, 2021, board meeting
At the May 11 meeting, the PSD Board of Education voted to direct district staff to continue the SRO program in PSD schools. As part of this decision, staff were asked to draft agreements between the district and the three law enforcement agencies – Fort Collins Police Services, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and Timnath Police Department – that employ the SROs who serve PSD schools. Pending successful negotiations with the three contracted law enforcement agencies, a final version of the contracts will go back to the Board of Education for its review at a future meeting. Directors will ultimately vote on whether to approve the agreements, which would be in place for the 2021-22 school year.
The Board of Education also gave staff directions to update the Standard Operating Procedures, or SOPs, that outline the scope of work of a school resource officer in PSD schools. The board indicated that it wants staff to integrate feedback from the Community Advisory Council’s final report and recommendations to the board, among other community and board input, into the contracts and/or SOPs, where appropriate. SOPs will be finalized prior to the start of the 2021-22 school year.
Spring 2021 CAC recommendations to the board
- Read the CAC’s final report to the board >>
- Watch the April 27 presentation to the board on PSD TV YouTube >>
At its April 27 meeting, the Board of Education was presented with the CAC’s recommendations regarding SROs. Throughout 2020 and 2021, the CAC reviewed data, engaged in discussions and ultimately made recommendations to the board, which is determining the future of the SRO program and whether to renew PSD's contracts with the three law enforcement agencies that employ the district's current SROs.
The CAC explored alternative models and best practices, reviewed data and community input (including the spring 2021 PSD SRO survey), tested for consensus among the group (the CAC did come to consensus on 50 but not all items) and finalized recommendations.
The Civic Canopy, a Denver-based outside facilitation firm that engages groups around complex issues, worked with the CAC for this months-long process.
The CAC was asked to determine what role, if any, SROs should play in the pursuit of a shared vision of safety in PSD. The council's comprehensive vision of safety includes supportive school cultures, direct prevention, preparedness and response, and recovery and accountability.
The CAC developed principles to guide when law enforcement should be used in schools and only in specific circumstances. More information is in the final report linked below.
The council also agreed when it is (e.g. emergency response to violence inside schools) and is not acceptable (e.g. nonviolent response in schools) for law enforcement to be in schools. More information is in the final report linked below.
Majority opinion: Eleven CAC members believe the role of law enforcement, agreed to in the final CAC report, can be implemented without SROs’ presence in schools. They recommend that PSD shift to a response model where law enforcement officers are not embedded on campuses. One option for exploration is for officers to fulfill the roles outlined in the CAC report but act more as liaisons to schools; they would be assigned to patrol areas adjacent to their designated schools to reduce response time.
Dissenting opinion: Four CAC members felt strongly that SROs should remain embedded in schools, citing response time in the case of threats of violence and the hope that SRO presence deters criminal or violent behavior. They felt that new Standard Operating Procedures, or SOPs, for SROs is a step in the right direction and that continued data gathering to inform new practices is essential. They agree the disproportionality of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) students being referred to law enforcement is a large concern.
Next steps in the process
- No decision about the program or PSD’s contracts with law enforcement agencies has been made, as of April 2021.
- The next step in the process is a May 11 Board of Education meeting. Board meeting agendas and meeting information are available here >>
SRO FAQs, CAC tasks, meetings and committee members
SRO Frequently Asked Questions
- When did the SRO program start in PSD?1995
- Is there an evaluation process for the SROs and SRO program?Yes. The SRO supervisor and PSD’s safety and security manager meet annually with each middle and high school principal to evaluate the program and the SRO assigned to their school. The contracted law enforcement agencies also conduct separate quarterly evaluations of each SRO.
To add to the annual review of SROs conducted by PSD staff and law enforcement, during the 2020-2021 school year, at the direction of the Board of Education, the Community Advisory Council was formed to conduct research and hold discussions regarding the program. This work has resulted in a recommendation that has been shared with the board. The CAC is a new committee and this is the first time that a community group has reviewed PSD's SRO program.
- As of spring 2021, how many SROs are in PSD schools?There are 14 employed by the Fort Collins Police Services, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and Timnath Police Department through a cost-sharing agreement with the school district.
- Develop a foundational understanding of the school-to-prison pipeline
- Review / analyze discipline data from PSD to establish an understanding of the district’s current situation
- Review / analyze law enforcement data from each contracted law enforcement entity to establish an understanding of the district’s current situation
- Identify and evaluate the current state of each data set for indicators of the school-to-prison to pipeline
- Identify ways for community members to engage so all voices are represented including those impacted the most
- Provide input on the language and implementation of surveys that will be available for students, parents, PSD staff and SROs for the purpose of understanding each stakeholders’ experience
- Review / analyze surveys from students, parents, PSD staff and SROs to determine common themes and suggested program improvements
Due to the sensitive nature of the work, CAC meetings were not open to the public. Notes are taken at each meeting and posted with identifiable information redacted.
PSD received over 100 applications for CET membership, which made for a difficult application and decision-making process. All identifiable information was removed when reviewing applications to ensure that the content of applicants’ responses was the main consideration.
- John McKay, director of Language, Culture, and Equity
- Ruben Chacon, director of Student Services
- Craig Woodall, Rocky Mountain High School principal
- Alicia Bono, Cache La Poudre Middle School principal
- Steve Apodaca, Putnam Elementary principal
Student representatives (3)
- Courtenay Daum
- Rev. Sean Neil-Barron
- Susan Lorimor
- Rahshida Perez
- Charles Yung
Other community representatives:
- Black, Indigenous, and People of Color: Johanna Ulloa
- School Justice PSD: Rena Trujillo and Isael Herrera-Santos
School Resource Officer data and information
The following are key sources of information analyzed as part of the SRO program review. Please note this is not an exhaustive list of all information reviewed by the CAC, district staff, Board of Education or others throughout this process.
2021 PSD Family Engagement Survey
The surveys and results are available on the PSD Research and Evaluation website. You can scroll through results by clicking the arrows “1 of 6” located at the very bottom of the website.
- Three surveys co-created with the CAC and were sent to families, staff and students in spring 2021. These included questions about the district in general, as well as those specific to SROs.
- Total Family Engagement Survey response rate: 7,255/27,469 = 26.4%
- Student (grades 6-12) SRO survey response rate: 1,999/14,940 = 13.4%
- Staff SRO survey response rate: 1,834/2,838 = 64.6%
- Results were presented at the April 13 Board of Education meeting.
PSD Internal Monitoring Report
Each year, PSD produces an Internal Monitoring Report, which includes key data as evidence of the district’s targets and the progress being made on each. The purpose of the report is to communicate clearly to the public about the outcomes PSD aspires to attain as a school district and to indicate whether key outcomes are increasing, decreasing or remaining consistent. This purpose reflects a desire to track continuous improvement efforts.
- Read the March 2021 Internal Monitoring Report >>
- Note: The report does include PSD-specific student discipline data but does not include SRO outcome data.
State-mandated data reported from law enforcement agencies to the state
By Colorado law, local law enforcement agencies and district attorney offices are required to annually report specific information to the Division of Criminal Justice within the Colorado Department of Public Safety, including incidents that resulted in a student’s arrest, summons or ticket during the academic year for offenses that occurred on school grounds, in a school vehicle or at a school event.
- Read the March 2021 law enforcement and district attorney summary report >>
- Access the state’s School Dashboard >>
PSD/SRO evaluation team
Task: To provide feedback about the SRO program and review the operation of the program (without the disclosure of confidential information) and discuss potential changes to the program.
- Scott Nielsen, assistant superintendent of Secondary Schools
- Matt Bryant, executive director of Operations
- Jerry Schiager, Fort Collins Police Services
- Mike Loberg, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office
- Two community members at-large - TBD