- Sheriff's Office
- School Resource & L.E.A.D.
School Resource and L.E.A.D.
School Resource Unit
In 2000, the Gloucester County Sheriff's established a partnership with the Gloucester County Vocational-Technical School and Gloucester County Special Services School Districts to assign one full-time law enforcement officer to their campuses. The Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office and the Gloucester County Board of Education has recognized that the presence of uniformed officers on campus is a deterrent to fighting, drug use, and sales, as well as other forms of criminal behavior in our schools. The idea is to provide the safest educational environment for our youth, thereby giving them the best chance for educational success. The assignment of a school resource officer will enhance the working relationship of our law enforcement officers with our young residents and help to build a stronger, safer community for now and the future. It provides us with positive interaction with our student teenage student population that helps us and them solve problems in a constructive way.
School Resource Officers reflect a national program that places law enforcement officers within local schools. The unit was designed to develop partnerships between law enforcement and the school community. Law Enforcement Personnel are full-time sworn law enforcement officers, have full law enforcement authority, and are employees of the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Officers are deployed as school resource officers (SROs) and are required to attend a mandatory 40-hour Safe Schools Resource Officer Training Course which is regulated by the New Jersey Police Training Commission and is held in an approved police training facility. This training equips the SRO to act not only as an arm of law enforcement, but also to act as an educator and counselor for students, gaining their trust.
To understand the role of the SRO, it is important to understand that the SRO program is really based on the philosophy of community policing and is considered the best model of policing in schools. School resource officers are law enforcement officers who are assigned to work with children. They are protectors who have extensive training and experience as first responders to emergencies and in helping those who may be in crisis. They are adjunct members of the school community, role models, trusted adults and mentors to students and staff. They are a liaison between the law enforcement department, school administrators, and the local community.
In many cases, SROs can also teach classes such as L.E.A.D. curriculum as well as other prevention-based programs to elementary and secondary students. SROs encourage and model respect for others and help foster a positive culture and climate within their schools. They can provide law-related education to high school students in driver’s education among other courses. They play an extremely vital role, on all levels, in identifying at-risk students and cases of abuse, intervening in drug and alcohol use and providing support for students as another trusted adult who they can turn to. The school is a community and SROs keep their community safe in many ways. This program encourages a positive law enforcement presence on school campuses. This entity concentrates on safety and security and encourages positive relationships and trust between officers, teachers, students and school staff. Many SROs are also certified Child Safety Seat Technicians. The SROs attend the Safe Kids National Child Passenger Safety Training Program and become certified Child Safety Seat Technicians.
In 2021, the Sheriff’s Office currently has four full time certified School Resource Officers assigned on the various Gloucester County educational campuses.
L.E.A.D. & School Resource
L.E.A.D. (Law Enforcement Against Drugs) is a non-profit (501C3) organization, supported by dedicated police officers, committed to protecting our youth and communities from the proliferation of drugs, drug related crimes, peer to peer/cyber bullying and violence. We achieve our goals by collaborating with educators, community leaders, families and L.E.A.D. support organizations.
The L.E.A.D. program was launched in 2014 in New Jersey with the goal of creating safer, healthier communities that are free of drugs, bullying and violence. L.E.A.D. collaborates with educators, community leaders, families and support organizations in 28 states to provide a number of curated programs (both in the classroom and on the streets). L.E.A.D. partners with the Mendez Foundation to offer the only K-12 proven evidence-based curriculum that is taught in the U.S. by police officers and educators. One thing that sets L.E.A.D.’s curriculum apart is that its programs have undergone evaluations by third-party researchers, using randomized treatment-control group designs (pre-test/post-test, 20-week post-test, or one-year follow-up). The Researchers examined pre-test equivalence between treatment and control groups, potential bias of loss of student data over time, quality of program implementation, and estimates of reliability and validity of assessment tools.
The L.E.A.D. curriculum has proven effective in reducing adolescent alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco use in students by preparing students to act decisively in refusing offers to use drugs, and helping students to recognize the risks and avoid drug-related situations. It also focuses on building strong decision-making, communication, planning and assertive refusal skills. At the core of the program is empowering youth to value their own perceptions and feelings and make choices that support drug-free values.
The L.E.A.D. programs – offered in concert with other school-based prevention activities and intervention strategies for the identification, early intervention, and aftercare support of students at risk for substance abuse – may be viewed as a comprehensive substance abuse program that meets the goals of the federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.
In Bankbridge Elementary School, the L.E.A.D. Program is taught in the 5th grade and is organized into ten 60-minute lessons taught by Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officers certified in the L.E.A.D. Instructional Curriculum. Officers Jill Manson and Lori Shaw are L.E.A.D. certified officers for the Bankbridge Elementary School in Sewell, NJ. Bankbridge Elementary School is a special needs school servicing Gloucester County. The emphasis of the program in fifth grade is to help the Bankbridge Elementary School students recognize and resist the many direct and subtle pressures that influence them to experiment with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, inhalants, or other drugs or to engage in violence. The L.E.A.D. program offers preventive strategies to enhance protective factors – especially bonding to the family, school, and community – which has been proven to help foster the development of resiliency in young people who may be at risk for substance abuse or other problem behaviors. It also helps to build the capacity of young people in making healthy, independent growth, despite adverse conditions. These strategies focus on the development of social competence, communication skills, self-esteem, empathy, decision-making, conflict resolution, sense of purpose and independence, and positive alternative activities to drug abuse and other destructive behaviors. Student participation in the LEAD program is incorporated as part of the school’s curricular offering in health, science, social studies, language arts, or other subjects as appropriate. The classroom teacher should maintain a supportive role in classroom management while the officer is teaching and should incorporate L.E.A.D. program participation by students as an integral part of the student’s final evaluation. A L.E.A.D. Graduation is held annually at the Bankbridge Elementary School
For more information and to keep up with news and activities from L.E.A.D., follow them on Twitter, Facebook, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To function as:
• A visible, active law enforcement body on campus who serves as an immediate first responder, and deals with law-related issues.
• A classroom resource for instruction in: law-related education, violence diffusion, safety programs, drug and alcohol prevention and more.
• A member of school district faculty and administration to solve community issues.
• A resource for students, teachers, & parents.