Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said the officers would receive special training that will help them deal with students who suffer from mental illness. Mo Canady, the executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, talked with the Terre Haute Community Issues Examiner Friday.
Members of the Terre Haute Police Department and the Vigo County Sheriff's department will soon place officers in all of the corporation's schools, if the County Council approves a measure already approved by the school board
NASRO trains officers to deal with adolescent emotional issues, to deal with special needs students, and to deal with students suffering from abuse. The training does not turn SROs into mental health professionals, but it does help the officers spot problems.
The training helps officers serving in schools learn to understand what to anticipate, according to Canady. SROs are expected to become a positive part of a school's safety program. He reiterated a statement made by Attorney General Zoeller during a press conference Zoeller held in February. Students may tell school officers about potential problems.
Even though the officers placed in schools receive additional training, it is not clear which agency the THPD or the Vigo County Sheriff's department will use. Senate Bill 1, proposed by the attorney general, requires SROs to receive training from the Indiana law training board, the National Association of School Resource Officers, or a certified school resource officer trainer.
Most states require SROS to complete the academy and to go through special training. They do not specify what the training must include, nor do they require ongoing training. Because the training requirements vary widely, it can cause problems. “It causes problems when officers are assigned to work in schools without the proper training," said Canady over the phone.