U.S. flag

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

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Policing the Schools

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 26 Issue: 10 Dated: October 1999 Pages: 34-36-38-40
Ronnie L. Paynter
Date Published
October 1999
6 pages
This article discusses how school resource officers (SROs) can manifest a community policing strategy by involving the community in combating school violence.
The School Safety Pyramid developed by the Center for the Prevention of School Violence reflects the importance of the community policing concept in school safety. The community sits at the pyramid's base, because the school environment often mirrors what is happening in the community. Community problems can disrupt the school environment and contribute to crime and violence in that environment. At the crux of curtailing school violence is finding out what is good about the community and working well, then delving into the community's problems. The SRO rests on the pyramid's next level, because the SRO functions as an integral connection between the school and the community. The officer serves as a conduit to the community and community resources. The SRO also represents a significant part of each additional level of the pyramid, from law-related education to physical design and technology. In a teaching capacity, an SRO can instruct students about their rights and responsibilities according to the law. By interacting with students in an informal capacity, the SRO allows students to perceive police as regular persons behind the uniform. The SRO should be viewed by staff and students as an information resource and problem-solver. It is important that SRO officers and school officials clearly define and understand the SRO's role in the context of school officials' goals and objectives in creating a safe and effective learning environment for students.