The Alignment Between Community Policing and the Work of School Resource Officers
Despite a growing literature showing the ineffectiveness of school resource officers (SROs) for reducing school crime, their use is widespread. Some of this ineffectiveness may arise from SROs’ experiences of role conflict due to their multi-faceted roles and conflicting expectations associated with following two authority structures. Community policing (CP) may offer a unifying perspective that can address some of these barriers. The current study uses data from 119 qualitative interviews with SROs from three U.S. states to examine the extent to which SROs’ activities align with three dimensions of CP: community partnerships, problem-solving, and organizational adaptation. This study finds that SROs’ described activities align well with these dimensions, suggesting that a CP framework may be a strong model for organizing and describing the work of SROs. This framework can be viewed as an initial proof of concept, and research may elaborate on the framework and assess its utility.