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Police Officers in Schools: Effects on School Crime and the Processing of Offender Behaviors

The use of police in schools has increased dramatically in the past 12 years, largely due to increases in US Department of Justice funding. This study used data from the School Survey on Crime and Safety to assess the extent to which the addition of police in schools is associated with changes in levels of school crime and schools responses to crime. We found that as schools increase their use of police, they record more crimes involving weapon and drugs and report a higher percentage of their non-serious violent crimes to law enforcement. The possibility that placement of police officers in schools increases referrals to law enforcement for crimes of a less serious nature and increases recording of weapon and drug offenses requires that more rigorous research be carried out to assess more carefully the school climate and school safety outcomes related to this popular and costly practice.