Police Presence, Activities, and Policies at Public Schools: A National Analysis



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The overall purpose of this journal-ready dissertation was to determine sworn

police officer presence, activity, and types of weapons carried and policies that govern

sworn police officers by school level. In the first study, the degree to which differences

were present in sworn police officer presence (i.e., while students are arriving and leaving

school, at school activities, at other times, and during all instructional hours at school) by

school level was determined. In the second study, the degree to which differences existed

in police activity (i.e., participation in discipline, solving school problems, prevention

training, student mentoring, and teaching law related classes) by school level was

addressed. In the third study, the degree to which differences were present in the types of

weapons (i.e., carried stun guns, chemical sprays, firearms, body cameras, restraints; and

officers who made arrests and reported) carried while on campus and policies used to

govern their sworn police officers by school level was examined. In all three studies, the

extent to which consistencies were present in schools across two school years was



A causal-comparative research design was present for all three studies. Archival

data were collected from the 2015-2016 and 2017-2018 School Survey on Crime and

Safety (2018) surveys, which is a national dataset available at the National Center for

Education Statistics.


Inferential analyses revealed that high schools had statistically higher percentages

of sworn police officer presence, more use of police in various capacities, and more types

of weapons carried on campus. Similar percentages were established by school level for

having body cameras and for written policies that governed sworn police officers. With

respect to the survey questions that were analyzed, consistencies were documented. In

both years of national data, a stair step effect was observed, with high schools having the

highest percentages of sworn police officer presence, how they were used, and in the

weapons that were carried, followed by middle schools, and then by elementary schools.

Results delineated herein were commensurate with the existing research literature.

Implications for policy and for practice, as well as recommendations for future research,

were provided.



Elementary school, High school, Middle school, School resource officer, School safety, School survey on crime and safety