A.J. Rice became the first school resource officer in Montgomery County to receive the master accreditation last week. The ceremony took place June 24 after the Indiana School Resource Officers Association conference to acknowledge Rice and 12 others who received their master accreditation this year.
The Master SRO title is given by the ISROA, designed as a status for officers who have put in at least seven years of service and allot four years of experience at ISROA conferences. This program started in 2019 and since then 23 officers in the state have become Master SROs.
Currently there is no requirement for SRO’s to get additional training, according to Sgt. Julie Quesenbery, vice president of ISROA and Columbus PD SRO.
“It’s not required that people get all this training,” Quesenbery said. “To achieve the master level certification means that he’s poured a lot of time, energy and effort to go above and beyond what was required for him to have that position. So that really speaks to AJ’s willingness to serve his community.”
Aside from school safety, SROs build relationships that act as a bridge between law enforcement and youth.
Rice said his job entails mentoring students through difficult situations, educating students by serving as the corporations DARE, Drug Abuse Resistance Education, officer and when needed, act as law enforcement.
“My favorite part is just being able to talk with the students, and to be able to assist them in making better, safer decisions, and the goal is to get them through high school and onto being productive adults,” Rice said.
While Rice was the first in the county to receive this title, the South Montgomery and Crawfordsville High School SROs are working towards the master certification as well.