2024 LRE Officer of the Year

Shane Connell

Shane Connell

Empower College Prep Phoenix, AZ

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School Safety Funded Officers on Campus

ARS 15-154 Statute:

“The Schools Safety Program is established within the department of education to support, promote and enhance safe and effective learning environments for all students by supporting the costs of placing school resource officers, juvenile probation officers, school counselors and school social workers on school campuses.”

Under the School Safety Program (SSP) grant, school resource officers and juvenile probation officers carry out 3 main roles: officer, educator, and mentor. They are specifically trained to learn the philosophy of the program and meet the needs of Arizona youth. Each new officer participates in a 4-day training during the first year with ongoing technical support from the Foundation’s Instruction Specialist in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Education. Researched-based strategies for effective implementation of Law Related Education (LRE) are provided during the New Officer Training the first year and with every Advanced LRE training. Under the grant, officers continue their training by attending an Advanced LRE Academy each school year. Scholarships are available to educators working at a SSP site and are encouraged to attend with their officer to practice team teaching LRE with their school’s officer.

Officers are experts in the field of law and are trained by the SSP to relate the law to student life and campus issues through research-based strategies utilizing best practices. SSP officers are equipped to teach LRE each school year as part of the school’s prevention program requirement. LRE instruction provides students with understanding about rules, laws, and the legal system to prepare them for their role as active citizens. When LRE is implemented correctly, protective factors that assist with reducing juvenile delinquency are strengthened. Students are provided opportunities to practice real-life situations, apply effective strategies for communication, problem-solving, decision-making, and resisting negative peer pressure. Through their instruction, positive presence, and interaction on campus, officers can build relationships as educators and mentors with students, staff, and parents.

SSP officers provide a visible presence on campus to assist in providing a safe learning environment. Their LRE instruction provides knowledge, skills, and resources to aid staff and parents in understanding how the law relates to their role in student lives. Preventing risky and unsafe behaviors that could adversely affect student success and well-being is part of a school’s prevention program. Collaboration between the school and the school safety officer evokes a purposeful atmosphere that promotes a positive and safe learning environment. These positive relationships build connections with law enforcement and their community.