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An Investigation of School Resource and Safety Programs Policy and Practice in Virginia

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2021
235 pages

Based on analyses of surveys. memoranda of understanding (MOUs), focus groups, and interviews, this research project assessed Virginia’s use of school resource officers (SROs) and school security officers (SSOs) to improve school security.


The data were collected and analyzed to determine the responsibilities and needs of Virginia’s SROs and SSOs in seven areas. These areas were 1) how SROs and SSOs are trained to perform their work in K—12 public schools; 2) the criteria used in selecting them for school security tasks; 3) the documentation of their interventions that do not result in an arrest; 4) how they are supervised by their law enforcement agencies and the individual schools in which they serve; 5) the criteria used to assess their performance; 6) the extent to which they are involved in school disciplinary actions that do not involve criminal activity; and 7) whether there are differences in school districts that have MOUs with local law enforcement and school districts that have no formal arrangements with local law enforcement agencies. New and existing data were collected and analyzed in addressing these issues. One section of this report describes the data collection and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data. Another section presents the findings from the analysis of existing datasets and new survey data, as well as an analysis of transcripts from interviews and focus groups.  The findings of this study can assist in shaping policy and practice in the selection, training, and support of SROs and SSOs. Participants generally felt the role of SROs and SSOs in schools should be better understood by schools and external stakeholders. 69 tables, 36 figures, 8 references, and 12 appendices

Date Published: January 1, 2021