February 15: School Resource Officer Appreciation Day

February 15 is School Resource Officer Appreciation Day! Please join us in thanking Officer Jobie Warner and Officer Leland Kelly for the work that they do in New Albany-Plain Local Schools to protect our schools, provide valuable resources to school staff members and foster positive relationships with students.

“It’s an honor to serve New Albany as a school resource officer,” said New Albany Police Officer Leland Kelly. “We know that strong relationships set the foundation for a safer community. That’s why we believe it’s important to foster those positive relationships between law enforcement and even the youngest members of our community.”

The National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) declared February 15 “National School Resource Officer Appreciation Day” and encourages schools and communities across the nation to recognize the accomplishments of their school resource officers (SROs) that day.

“I love the fact that we get to be a positive influence on the young people in our schools,” said New Albany Police Officer Jobie Warner. “Our department values professionalism, integrity, respect and compassion. We do our best to demonstrate those values to our students each and every day.”

SROs are full-time law enforcement officers with sworn law enforcement authority, trained in school-based policing and crisis response and assigned by an employing law enforcement agency to work with schools using community-oriented policing concepts.

“Law Enforcement Appreciation Day has existed since 2015, but to our knowledge, no one has ever declared a date to specifically honor SROs nationwide,” said NASRO executive director Mo Canady. “As the only national organization of SROs in the U.S., with more than 4,500 member SROs, it’s appropriate for us to establish a day for that purpose.”

NASRO chose February 15 for National School Resource Officer Appreciation Day because it falls during the traditional academic year and is the birthdate of Archie Hodge, the only NASRO founding member who remains active in the organization. Hodge, of Jackson, Mississippi, retired from law enforcement in 2006 after serving as an SRO for 22 years.

In a national proclamation on NASRO’s website, the organization cites SROs for bridging gaps between youth and law enforcement and embracing a triad concept of school policing, serving in informal counseling, education and law enforcement roles to support the students and communities they serve. It also describes SROs as “valuable and essential members of the education community” who “deserve unwavering respect and support from the public in the pursuit of keeping schools and students safe.”