One in five school police officers say their school is not prepared to handle an active-shooter situation, according to a survey of school resource officers conducted by the Education Week Research Center.
According to the report, the average officer is a 48-year-old white male who has worked in law enforcement for 19 years and has been a school police officer for 9 years. He works for a local police or sheriff’s department and has experience working with youth prior to becoming an SRO. He is assigned to a single school as opposed to multiple campuses. He views his primary role as enforcing laws.
Most SROs (81 percent) say they have sufficient training on working in schools. The most common type of training they have received relates to responding to active shooters.
According to the report, the majority of SROs carry handcuffs, a gun, mace, and a taser. In addition, 30 percent wear body cameras. On a typical day, SROs are most likely to be found in school hallways. Just under half of SROs (48 percent) monitor the social media use of the students in the schools they serve.
Morale is relatively strong among SROs. Most SROs (58 percent) say morale is excellent or very good. Just 3 percent say morale is poor. Younger and female officers have somewhat poorer morale.
According to the report, top work-related challenges for SROs include resources and a lack of cooperation or support from administrators and staff. Most SROs (79 percent) say their schools are prepared to handle an active shooter. Most officers say that having an armed officer on campus deters school shootings and minimizes harm in the event of a school shooting. Only a minority of officers (33 percent) say that training and arming a select group of teachers would make schools safer.
So what could schools do to prevent future shootings? In responding to that open-ended question, officers were most likely to suggest improvements to student and staff training on school security and threat awareness.