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Research in Brief: School-Based Law Enforcement

Recent events, particularly the recorded police killings of Black people, have increased scrutiny on the role of police, including their presence in schools. Since May 2020, several school districts in the United States have undergone deliberations about whether to maintain a police presence in their schools. This has resulted in some local jurisdictions opting to remove or reduce police presence.

Public school districts and police departments in the United States have been collaborating since the 1950s, often in efforts to build school-police relationships and address school-based violence and other threats to the safety and well-being of students, teachers, and staff. One result of these partnerships is that law enforcement officers have become an increasingly common presence in schools around the country. This new research brief summarizes the evidence on school-based law enforcement and its impact on school safety as well as racial differences in how school-based law enforcement is experienced. It also includes strategies for districts that are considering, or that already have, a law enforcement presence on school campuses.