PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — At a national SRO school safety conference in Pigeon Forge, the National Association of School Resource Officers are teaching attendees a variety of topics-- one being how to investigate internet crimes.
Cyber bullying education for officers and students is leading to fewer victims.
Retired Detective Rich Wistocki from Naperville, Illinois has formed a program to educate SROs, children, and parents about cyber bullying, online threats, and internet crimes.
The SROs also learn how to file reports and investigate internet crimes.
"When it comes to social media, no one online is anonymous," Wistocki said. "So we can find out who anyone is at any time."
Experts say some officers could use the knowledge.
"When it comes to in the schools, they had no idea what they were doing because they hadn't had the training," Wistocki explained.
And that training for SROs, children, and parents, helps cyberbullying reports go down.
"The more education we do, the more training I can give an SRO on how to investigate these cases, the less victimization we're gonna have," Wistocki noted.
But cyber bullying isn't the only thing SROs are being trained to investigate in this new age. Online school threats for violence or shootings can be traced in a matter of hours.
"So when there is leakage, like when they post 'I'm gonna shoot up the school tomorrow,' now the SRO can take that information, they have a form they fill out, they send it to the provider, and within an hour they can identify who the suspect is," Wistocki explained.
With this tactic, every time a threat is made, SROs are taught to report it.
"My lesson for the SROs--you cannot take that not seriously," Wistocki said.
It's also important for the children who are thinking of making these threats to know, too.
"If the person is posting stuff that they're venting, they better watch out because I'm training all these SROs and law enforcement how to execute search warrants at your house and take all your stuff," Wistocki warned.
Juvenile Justice Online is Wistocki's company, which specializes in diversion programs. Once children get in trouble for making threats online, the program gives them the choice to complete their program.
The parents and school also play a role in the program. There are many checklist items to complete before there is a resolution. Wistocki explained the success rate of the Juvenile Justice Online program is very high.