Evaluation of the Pennsylvania School Resource Officer Program

Amy Eisert, Mercyhurst College Civic Institute

The Center for Safe Schools and Communities received a two-year grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to assess the value of the School Resource Officer (SRO) Program and identify the critical components that lead to success of the program. The Center for Safe Schools partnered with the Mercyhurst Civic Institute to conduct the evaluation with the intended goal of developing a best practice manual for SRO programs within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Twenty-four school districts were identified as having received or currently receiving state funds for the SRO program and only those sites were asked to participate in the study. The first year of the evaluation consisted of teacher, parent, and student surveys in addition to personal interviews with school administration and the SROs.

Of the twenty-four districts, half participated in the survey portion of the evaluation, and twenty-one participated in the interviews. Results were compiled into an SPSS database and analyzed to determine components of the program that receive the greatest levels of acceptance and support. Through the evaluation, there were some commonalities among the SRO programs that showed stronger support of the school administration, parents, teachers, and students than others. The second year of the evaluation is to consist of surveys of law enforcement officers and supervisors regarding acceptance, understanding, benefits, and barriers to working with a SRO Program. The second year evaluation will be completed by summer of 2004.

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Updated 05/20/2006