U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Training School Resource Officers to Improve School Climate and Student Safety Outcomes

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $4,999,442)

Ninety secondary (middle, junior, or high) schools have agreed to participate in the study to assess the effectiveness of School Resource Officers (SROs) on school climate and school safety. Forty-five of these schools will be randomly selected and assigned to one of three conditions: The 15 schools in Condition 1 will have an SRO placed in the school who will receive the standard training provided by the state department of education. Condition 2 schools (n=15) will receive an enhanced training protocol designed for this project, also described below. Condition 3 schools (n=15) will serve as controls. They will not get an SRO assigned to their school, but will provide the researchers with the same data as schools in the other conditions. To our knowledge, there has not been a study of cost-benefits regarding SROs, and research on the impact of SROs on school communities is exceedingly limited (Brown, 2006); this aspect of the project is both novel and exploratory. Although it will be challenging to calculate the cost/benefits of SROs and results likely will be tentative, this component of the project will represent the first effort to do so. Per NIJ request the grantee will expand research questions and procedures. In this regard, we are willing and able to undertake a more robust evaluation of the impact of school-based mental health professionals on variables of interest in the current project. The current project involves hiring these professionals to ensure that imbalances in the numbers of school-based mental health professionals across schools and conditions do not confound study results. As a major focus that we expressed in the initial proposal, our study design involves embedding SROs within a team that includes an administrator and school-based mental health professionals. Thus, the recruitment and hiring of mental health professionals is essential to ensuring the integrity of this study design. Moreover, we agree that assessing the impact of school-based mental health professionals within this paradigm is essential to strengthening our study design because of research highlighting the utility of interdisciplinary team-based approaches to solving complex school problems, as well as the varied impact that different team members may have on these problems. Therefore, in support of this refined focus, we are happy to add research questions to those that we have already included in the initial proposal. ca/ncf
Date Created: September 29, 2014