Session: Research on the Use of Police in Schools (Society for Prevention Research 24th Annual Meeting)

4-038 Research on the Use of Police in Schools

Friday, June 3, 2016: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Pacific M (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
Theme: Research, Policy and Practice
Symposium Organizer:
Denise Gottfredson
Daniel J. Flannery
Concern over the safety of students, teachers, and administrators in our nation’s schools continues to grow.  This is due in part to the widespread media coverage of mass school shootings, such as the events at Columbine High School in 1999 and Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Schools have adopted a number of approaches for increasing safety, including the use of controlled access to buildings, security cameras, metal detectors, and the placement of school resource officers (SROs).  The deployment of SROs in schools has increased rapidly in recent years, largely due to the availability of funding for SROs through the U.S. Department of Justice.  Data from the Safe School Study showed that in 1975 principals in only 1% of the nation's schools and 13% of senior high schools reported police stationed in the school.  By contrast, the most recent data from the School Survey on Crime and Safety show that principals in 43% of schools nationwide and 76% of senior highs have police. Little is known about the effects of this major shift in the way discipline is handled in schools.

The National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ) launched the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative in 2014, in response to a congressional appropriation of $75 million, to fund research related to school safety. Two rounds of funding have been awarded so far under this initiative, and several of the projects funded are focusing on the role of police officers in schools and the effects of increasing police in schools.  This panel will include presentations on three of the studies funded as part of this initiative.

The first paper will report on a project that will employ a comparative time series design to study what happens to disciplinary incident and arrest rates when police are placed in schools.  The second paper will report on an effort to train SROs to improve school climate, and the third paper will report on a project that will use a randomized controlled experimental design to study the effects of enhanced training for school-based police officers in conjunction with the use of the “Coping Power” prevention program.  A school violence researcher with experience conducting police training will serve as discussant.

* noted as presenting author
A Comparison Time Series Analysis of the Effects of Increasing Police in Schools
Denise Gottfredson, PhD, University of Maryland at College Park; Scott Crosse, PhD, Westat; Michele Harmon, PhD, Westat
The Role of School Resource Officers (SRO) in School Safety and Violence Prevention
Katie Eklund, PhD, University of Arizona; Kris Bosworth, PhD, University of Arizona; Lauren Meyer, MA, University of Arizona
Leveraging School Police to Reduce Youth Violence in Baltimore City High Schools
Catherine Bradshaw, PhD, University of Virginia; Jessika H. Bottiani, MPH, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Katrina Joy Debnam, PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Amanda Ellison, MPH, Baltimore City Public Schools; Philip Jay Leaf, PhD, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health