School Resource Officer Program Grant Frequently Asked Questions
SRO Grant Program is administered and monitored by the Department of Safety and Homeland Security in accordance with legislative guidelines.
All information regarding this program is subject to change, based on appropriations.
What is the School Resource Officer (SRO) Grant Program ?
SRO Grant Program provides funding to local law enforcement entities to place a full-time SRO at each of Tennessee’s K-12 public and public charter schools.
Funding will not be awarded for more than one SRO per eligible K-12 public or public charter school. A law enforcement entity that currently provides SROs for eligible schools in their jurisdiction can apply for SRO Grant Program funding.
What is an SRO?
An SRO is an armed law enforcement officer, as defined in T.C.A. § 49-6-4202, who must be in compliance with all rules and regulations of the POST commission. SROs are employed by local law enforcement entities, sheriff’s offices and police departments. SROs are assigned to a public or public charter school within their jurisdiction. SROs receive 40 additional hours of training to prepare them to work in a school setting and 16 hours of specialized training annually thereafter.
Can public schools use other officers besides SROs to provide security?
Yes. Public schools may use school security officers (SSOs), as defined in T.C.A. § 49-6-4206, but SSOs may not be funded through the SRO Grant Program. A local education authority (LEA) is authorized to create the position of SSO. This SSO is an employee of the local education authority.
Under T.C.A. § 49-6-809, local boards of education are also authorized to have off-duty law enforcement officers serve as armed SSOs during regular school hours when children are present on school premises and during school-sponsored events. In that scenario, the LEA must have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the law enforcement agency that employs the law enforcement officers.
Can retired law enforcement officers become school security officers?
Yes, certified law enforcement officers who recently ceased serving as full-time law enforcement officers may attend a three-week course to be recertified without attending basic training, pursuant to Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1110-02-03(7)(a).
Is the SRO Program for non-public schools, too?
No. However, the Governor’s FY23-24 budget amendment provides for grant money for $14 million non-recurring fund for school security for non-public schools. Allowable uses are intended to include one-time expenses for school hardening and one-year funding for security. Future funding for similar supports is not guaranteed and using this grant fund for recurring expenditures is not recommended. Please reach out to the Department of Education for information on this grant funding stream.
How much SRO Grant Funding is Available?
Local law enforcement agencies are eligible to apply for SRO Grant Program funding not to exceed $75,000 per year, per school for which they are responsible for providing SRO services. Funding shall not be awarded for more than one SRO per K-12 public or public charter school. Funding may only be used for expenses directly related to placing an SRO in a school (i.e., salary, benefits, training, and equipment).
What are the steps for Local Law Enforcement Agencies to Obtain Grant Funding?
The Department of Safety and Homeland Security shall make grant funds available to local law enforcement agencies after the agency completes the following:
- Submission of an application for funding, a MOU between the law enforcement agency and the local education authority or public charter school.
The prescribed template for the MOU is located on the Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s website. https://www.tn.gov/safety/homelandsecurity/grants/SRO.html. We recommend that agencies submit their application with their signed MOU attached to expedite processing.
Applications can be submitted without a signed MOU at the time of submission. However, agencies must follow up with a signed prescribed MOU submission once acquired to TDOSHS_SROGrants@tn.gov with the following naming format [Agency NAME]-MOU.
- Once applications have been submitted, reviewed, and approved by the Department of Safety’s Office of Homeland Security, a grant contract will be provided by the Department of Safety and Homeland Security to the local law enforcement agency for signature. Also, the local law enforcement agency will be required to submit a Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration Supplier Direct Deposit Authorization and a U.S. Department of Treasury Internal Revenue Service W-9 form, if they have not already done so in the past.
- Once the grant contract has been fully executed, along with submission of all the required supporting documentation, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security will request the release of the grant funds by the Department of Finance & Administration to the local law enforcement agency.
- SRO Grant Program participants are subject to periodic audits and must submit quarterly program reports.
When can Local Law Enforcement Agencies Apply for Grants?
The SRO Grant Program application for the 2023-2024 school year is available beginning in June 2023. However, no grant funds will be released until the start of the new State fiscal year beginning July 2023. The grant process does not have a cutoff date for application. Law enforcement agencies can apply throughout the entire year, as they are eligible.
Where is the Grant Application and MOU Template located?
Simply click the link below:
Contact the Office of Homeland Security at TDOSHS_SROGrants@tn.gov or 615-295-5059.