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Law Enforcement in Minnesota Schools: A Statewide Survey of School Resource Officers

NCJ Number
Dana Hurley Swayze; Danette Buskovick
Date Published
September 2014
111 pages
This survey of school resource officers (SROs) in Minnesota schools was conducted to obtain information on SRO programs and determine whether they are consistent with recommended practices for such programs.
The survey, which was conducted in 2013, found that nearly 3-in-10 public schools have SROs. In high schools, it is as high as 6-in-10. The survey findings highlight the perceived benefits and obstacles of law enforcement officers in schools from officers' perspectives. Minnesota SROs overwhelmingly reported that they enjoy working with youth and school staff and believe they are used appropriately in schools. Many report that their SRO work is the most rewarding and useful law enforcement position they have held. They note there are challenges, however. These include defining and adhering to the role of SROs in schools; adequate training in youth development and how to interact effectively with children and youth at various developmental stages; and ways to work in partnership with youth, school staff, and the parents of students. Based on survey results and a review of recommended SRO practices, this report offers six recommendations. First, law enforcement agencies should ensure that officers assigned to be SROs are highly motivated to perform this work. Second, schools and law enforcement agencies should develop a memorandum of understanding that states SROs' roles and duties. Third, SROs should be well-trained in preparation for SRO duties. Fourth, SROs and school staff should be cross-trained, so as to facilitate informed cooperation between SROs and school staff, Fifth, SROs should give high priority to preventing crime and disorder in schools rather than focusing on a reactive response after incidents have occurred. Sixth, the impact of SROs on school security and safety should be appropriately evaluated. 52 figures and 177 notes