The school resource officer (SRO) bill, SEA 1, was signed into law on May 7, 2013. Concerns about the direction that Indiana and other states are taking by expanding the role of SRO and how that role relates to the school-to-prison pipeline was addressed in an earlier post. The new law is lengthy, but some key points are:
A SRO may: (1) make an arrest; (2) conduct a search or a seizure of a person or property using the reasonable suspicion standard; (3) carry a firearm on or off school property; and (4) exercise other police powers with respect to the enforcement of Indiana laws. IC 20-26-18.2-3.
The training required to be a SRO is now defined at IC 20-26-18.2(b):
- successfully completed the minimum training requirements established for law enforcement officers under IC 5-2-1-9; and
- receive at least forty (40) hours of certified school resource officer training through: (A) the Indiana law enforcement training board established by IC 5-2-1-3; (B) the National Association of School Resource Officers; (C) a certified school resource officer instructor; or (D) another organization that offers certified instruction to school resource officers.
- The training must include instruction regarding skills, tactics, and strategies for school campuses and school building security needs and characteristics.
If the SRO is hired by contract or memorandum of understanding pursuant to IC 20-26-18.2-1(a), the contract or memorandum of understanding must state the nature and scope of a school resource officer’s duties and responsibilities. IC 20-26-18.2-2(b).
SRO’s were added to the definition of “law enforcement officer” pursuant to IC 35-31.5-2-185 for purposes of IC 35-44.1-3-1 (resisting law enforcement) and IC 35-44.1-3-2 (unarming a law enforcement officer). However, IC 35-44.1-3-1(f) specifies that a person may not be charged with resisting law enforcement by fleeing at IC 35-44.1-3-1(a)(3), if the officer is an SRO. RLE by force, which by case law can be as simple as stiffening arms and refusing to move arms while being handcuffed, would be a possible delinquency allegation.
Pursuant to IC 35-47-9-1(4), SRO’s will be allowed to carry firearms on school property.