An Evaluation of a School Resource Officer Program in a Rural Midwestern County

Eric Lambert, Ferris State University
Nancy Lynne Hogan, Ferris State University
Shannon M. Barton, Grand Valley State University
Alan Clarke, Ferris State University

During the past ten years, there has been heightened concern with school violence and student misbehavior. As a result, there has been a significant push for interventions to create safer and more orderly schools. One type of popular prevention strategy has been the creation and use of the School Resource Officers. School Resource Officers, sometimes referred to as School Liaison Officers, are sworn law enforcement officers who are assigned to work within schools. They are not undercover officers. Both school staff and students are aware that a law enforcement officer is stationed in the school. The School Resource Officer makes regular rounds in the school and frequently interacts with school staff and students. While most of the programs are located in urban and suburban communities, School Resource Officer programs exist in rural communities as well. Little attention has been paid to the effectiveness and problems of rural School Resource Officer programs. The results of an evaluation of a School Resource Officer program in a rural Midwestern county will be presented. Besides the perceived effectiveness, the unique issues and problems surroundng rural SRO programs will be presented and discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006