The practice of engaging police officers in schools, while seemingly a modern concept, actually began in the 1950s in communities across America. In the late-1970s, the Valparaiso Police Department partnered with Valparaiso Community Schools (VCS) and assigned detectives to act as liaison officers within the high school.
In 1997, the Valparaiso Police Department assigned its first School Resource Officer (SRO) to Valparaiso High School. In 1999, the program expanded, and SROs were assigned to schools throughout the system, to include the alternative school and two (2) middle schools.
The Valparaiso Police Department has three (3) SROs assigned to VCS locations. Those officers include Sergeant Pat Yokovich at Valparaiso High School, Officer Shannon Morris at Thomas Jefferson Middle School (TJMS), and Officer Rob Fisher at Benjamin Franklin Middle School (BFMS).
As part of their daily duties, the SROs serve in the capacity of guest instructors, counselors/mentors, and law enforcement officers. They investigate criminal acts within the school system and crimes within the community that are school-related. Furthermore, their presence acts as a deterrent for delinquent and inappropriate behavior, providing a safe learning environment for students and safe professional environment for teachers.