Evaluation of the impacts of SROs is necessary to facilitate dialogue about whether school-based policing is a strategy that communities want to continue employing to achieve the results they are seeking. The purpose of this study is to begin examining how SRO programs are functioning in Maine public schools by offering:
• A summary of national research on documented impacts of SROs and best practices for SRO programs;
• A review of the training and policies that guide SROs’ and schools’ responses to students; and
• A snapshot of school-based policing in Maine from the perspectives of stakeholders who participate in the model, including SROs and police chiefs, district and school administrators, special educators, school counselors and social workers, school- and community-based diversion programs, and juvenile community corrections officers.
This study was commissioned by the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (JJAG) to learn more about how SROs are deployed in Maine, and to understand if they are creating a culture of safety in Maine schools. This study collects existing national research on SROs, including deployment, effectiveness, impacts, and points of concern. A mixed method research design provides an overview of the program’s scope and various modes of deployment in Maine’s public schools.
The methodology of this report was limited in time and scope to exploring how persons directly benefitting from the involvement of SROs (primarily SROs and school administrators, along with school social workers and guidance counselors, special educators, juvenile community corrections officers, police chiefs, and diversion program coordinators) describe the functioning of their SRO program and how they perceive its effectiveness. This report does not assess the impacts of SROs on students. To truly gauge the impacts of SROs, further research needs to focus on those most impacted: students, parents, and school personnel. Only with the inclusion of these voices, as well as empirical data from law enforcement, schools, and the juvenile justice system, can a fully informed public conversation begin to address the key questions regarding deployment of SROs.
Layton, Danielle and Shaler, George MPH, "School-Based Policing in Maine: A study on School Resource Officers in Maine’s public schools" (2019). Maine Statistical Analysis Center. 3.