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National Assessment of School Resource Officer Programs Final Project Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2005
49 pages
This National Assessment of School Resource Officer (SRO) programs identified the program models that have been used, how programs have been implemented, and what the programs' possible effects may be.
There has been a growing interest in placing sworn police officers in schools as SRO's to improve school safety; however, when this national assessment of such programs began in May 2000, little was known about SRO programs. The national assessment of SRO programs involved a nationwide mail survey of established and relatively new SRO programs, which yielded 322 responses from law enforcement agencies with SRO programs and 108 responses from affiliated schools. Implementation data were collected by phone, and on-site visits were made to 19 SRO programs. The 19 programs were compared on 7 key dimensions: choosing a program model; defining specific SRO roles and responsibilities; recruiting SRO's; training and supervising SRO's; collaborating with school administrators and teachers; working with students and parents; and evaluating SRO programs. A survey of nearly 1,000 students in 3 large new SRO programs identified the link between perceptions of safety and the SRO program. Most of the 19 programs used a model under which SRO's enforced the law, taught classes, and mentored students; however, the level of emphasis for these roles varied considerably across and within programs. When SRO programs failed to define the SRO's roles and responsibilities in detail before the officers assumed their duties, then problems multiplied. Keys to an effective program are applicant screening, effective training, SRO supervision, and the school staff and parents' support for the programs. The student survey found that students' perception of safety was related to a feeling of comfort in reporting crimes, which was in turn related to having a positive opinion of the SRO and the frequency of conversations between a student and the SRO. 2 tables

Date Published: February 1, 2005