Writer / Renee Larr
Sergeant Mike Hargrove with the Noblesville Police Department (NPD) provides comfort and security to students and teachers at Noble Crossing Elementary School as a school resource officer (SRO). In this capacity, he builds relationships with the students and teachers he encounters on a daily basis.
“As an SRO, we have a two-fold purpose,” Hargrove says. “Number one is the safety and security of the students and staff. We work closely with school administrators to help facilitate that part. The second part of our mission is to build relationships with the students and their families.”
The Noblesville SRO unit is comprised of 12 veteran police offers to cover the seven elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school in the district.
“All officers are certified through the National School Resource Officers Association,” Hargrove says. “They learn about school safety, classroom management and building relationships.”
Hargrove helps to lead the six other elementary school resource officers.
“We approach things a little differently in the elementary schools versus the middle and high schools,” Hargrove says. “We spend a lot more time in the classrooms. We’re in the car line at drop-off in the morning. You’ll find us in the cafeteria at lunchtime. We work closely with staff to help supervise students during lunch. It’s a great opportunity for us to go out and talk with students.”
The SRO unit utilizes a custom-designed curriculum for students called Project Truth.
“We have classes for the students on water safety, peer pressure and bullying,” Hargrove says. “In some classes, we’ll do fingerprinting. We do a lot of reading. For instance, if we’re doing a lesson on water safety, we’ll read a children’s book about being safe around water.”
For their part, the students love seeing the officers in their schools each day. They don’t see Hargrove as a police officer. They know him as Officer Mike.
“The kids are fantastic,” Hargrove says. “They make you feel like a rock star. You start to learn their names and their families. For some of these kids, it’s the first time they’ve had any interaction with a police officer, so it’s a great opportunity for us to change how people view law-enforcement officers.”
The elementary school SROs offer a safety patrol program and an archery program to allow even more interaction with students.
“Students get to learn what school resource officers do through the safety patrol program,” Hargrove says. “They have to apply for the program and are required to give up five recesses to participate. It gives them a sense of responsibility, accountability and sacrifice.”
Hargrove has served in law enforcement for more than 15 years in various roles.
“I’ve been a patrol officer,” he says. “I’ve been a SWAT officer. I’ve been a detective. This is by far the greatest assignment I’ve ever had. My wife is a teacher, and I have two children in elementary school. Each day we all pack our lunch and head off to school.”
For more information, visit noblesvilleschools.org/Page/7043.