U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Policing and the Safety Logic in the School Context: Perceptions of Danger and Definitions of Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
Crime and Delinquency Volume: Online Dated: March 2024 Pages: 1-26
Date Published
March 2024
26 pages

In this study researchers examine perceptions of danger and definitions of law enforcement in a school context.


This research demonstrated that police subculture values, such as how police are socialized to hyperfocus on danger and safety, can have a strong influence on officer decisions. How police construct definitions of law enforcement has been a longstanding inquiry in criminology. These cultural logics can intersect with conditions of the environment to shape definitions of law enforcement. In particular, school police offer an opportunity to elucidate how these cultural logics are used to construct definitions across contexts. Researchers draw from 26 interviews with school police to investigate what cultural logic is used to construct law enforcement definitions. The researchers illustrate how definitions were driven by a safety logic, which structured wide-ranging student behaviors as underspecified signals of danger mandating legal intervention. (Published Abstract Provided)


Date Published: March 1, 2024