School resource officer is defined in § 9.1-101, Code of Virginia, as:
“School resource officer” means a certified law enforcement officer hired by the local law enforcement agency to provide law enforcement and security services to Virginia public elementary and secondary schools.
Understanding key words from the statutory definition, a SRO must:
- Be a certified law enforcement officer. SROs have met all requirements to be a law enforcement officer and have authority set forth in state law, including the authority to arrest. Law enforcement officers are “responsible for the prevention and detection of crime and the enforcement of the penal, traffic or highway laws of the Commonwealth.” (§ 9.1-101, Code of Virginia)
- Be employed by a local law enforcement agency. SROs are law enforcement officers who are employed by a local law enforcement agency. They are assigned by the law enforcement agency to work in one or more schools but remain under the administrative control of the law enforcement agency.
- Provide law enforcement and security services to public elementary or secondary schools. Note the SRO is defined as providing both law enforcement and security services.
- Where there is both an assigned SRO and an SSO, the division and coordination of security responsibilities is to be determined collaboratively and should be defined in both school policies and procedures and the interagency memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the school division and law enforcement agency.
Source: VaDCJS website