Bio: SRO Chris Flake begins his fifth year as School Resource Officer at Highland High School and Highland Middle School. Flake has been employed with the Highland Police Department since May of 2009. Prior to his career as a law enforcement officer, Flake attended Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Studies. Flake also obtained his Master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Lindenwood University. During his career as a law enforcement officer with the Highland Police Department he has served different functions within the department such as: Patrol Officer, Investigator, Juvenile Officer, Field Training Officer, Crisis Intervention Officer and now has the privilege of serving as the School Resource Officer.
A SRO is a sworn law enforcement officer trained to perform three major roles: law enforcement officer, law-related counselor, and law-related teacher/educator. Furthermore, the SRO and the Highland Community Unit School District will work in a collaborative effort to enhance positive, communicative and productive relationships among police, students, school personnel, and parents to foster a safe and secure educational environment.
In regards to the role of law enforcement officer, the SRO will assist the administration in maintaining a safe and secure environment. SROs have the duty to serve and protect schools as part of a community-policing strategy. SROs are responsible for investigating and resolving violations of criminal law on school grounds. SROs are not school disciplinarians, violations of school rules are the responsibility of the school administration. The presence of a SRO on a day-to-day basis, along with the interaction with students and staff, supports a safe and orderly educational environment.
The SROs role of law-related counselor will require the SRO to establish rapport with students and be an informal counselor/mentor to students. The SRO is responsible for developing an effective working relationship with school support staff to identify school resources that best support students, families and staff members. Furthermore, the SROs role in the school community is to be a resource to professional counseling staff already in place at the school.
Lastly, the role of law-related teacher/educator will allow the SRO to educate students in the classroom and provide the SRO an opportunity to personally connect with students in a positive atmosphere. The SRO will be giving presentations to students on law-related education. Law-related education is designed to promote the understanding of the law, which in turn helps students to become better-informed and effective citizens.
Resources for Parents:
For parents looking for extra resources for their children, the Madison County website has a list of Agencies that Serve Youth. The list of local agencies offer a wide range of services including: youth mentoring programs, character and leadership development programs, job training programs, mental health programs and much more.