Q&A with Student Resource Officer

In Depth Editor Binqi Chen talked to the SRO about his experience with alcohol and teens.

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Q: How long have you been working with students/ in the school environment?

A: It has only been about a month, since Feb. 8.

Q: Has alcohol been a big problem on school grounds?

A: Not on school grounds, since I haven’t been here for too long.  While patrolling, I definitely dealt with a lot of kids that maybe they’ve gone out to a party. A lot of times it would be a party that was at a vacant house, an abandoned house, so I did encounter a lot of alcohol in that setting.

Q: What type of training did you have to go through in order to work with teens and alcohol.

A: Usually you do, but because the officer that was here before me got a spot and and they needed him at the detective section at Mason station pretty much immediately. What normally happens is that they offer these spots in the summer time and then they do something called a Road DAWG (Don’t Associate With Gangs), where all the Student Resource Officers get together and and they put on a camp for at risk kids and then also part of that camp is the training. It’s three to four days of training that is put on by our academy and there is classroom instruction about school laws, administration, differences between what the school administration can do and what the student resource officers can do, and what we can do together.

Q: What type of alcohol is the most prevalent that you have found?

A: It’s usually cheap alcohol, primarily beer. Once in awhile people would have when they try to do more of a MTV party where they might have cheap champagne. That was only once or twice. The other times were liquor, such as vodka, and sometimes tequila.

Q: What happens when you break a party up?

A: At underage parties, everyone would run, some would stay. We would have to call parents. Usually we would have everyone destroy the alcohol and then dispose the alcohol. Then we would tell the kids about the risks and the dangers of alcohol. We tell them about what the consequences would be. Some officers might refer the teens if we have dealt with the kids a bunch of times or we know that they’re involved with other risk behavior. We may refer it to the court and let them decide if they want to do a further hearing.

Q: Is there a certain time in the year where alcohol has been the biggest problem?

A: I think more in the springtime or summer. So towards the end of the school year where there are graduation parties. Kids who have their birthdays in warmer weather because more people can get a fit in the house and they might have a cookout in the back or people play football. In general, there are just more things you can do, so I think parties are more frequent when its warm.

Q: What is the punishment for getting caught for alcohol?

A: I don’t think I ever charged any kids because most of the kids who were left behind I didn’t think it would be fair to charge them because they were caught and the rest of the kids who just ran faster wouldn’t.

Q: Was there ever any resistance from kids when they get caught with alcohol?

A: From high school students, no. Most of the high school kids that I have dealt with getting caught were fine. I never had any kids that were insolent or rude. College kids that have already graduated high school, but have not yet reached 21 sometimes would get very rude. I don’t know where it would come from or why they would disrespect law enforcement. I can’t remember a time out of the 30 or 40 cases while I was working that a high school student was rude. Most of the times the teenagers understood that their parents would get called and they knew that they would have to be respectful or if they were jerks we would have to notify their parents. Not only might go to court, they’ll also get punished by their parents.

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