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- Duxbury, Linda E. and Bennell, Craig
- Police in schools In an era where the costs of policing are constantly under scrutiny from governing municipalities, the time has come for police agencies to re-evaluate the services they provide. To do this, they need to answer questions relating to the value that different activities they perform create in the communities they serve. In other words, they need to change the focus of the conversation from “what does this service cost” to “what value does this service provide.” This document summarizes key findings from a longitudinal (2014-2017), multi-method (quantitative, qualitative, and ethnographic analysis, along with a Social Return on Investment [SROI] analysis) case study undertaken to identify the value of School Resource Officers (SROs) that are employed by Peel Regional Police and work in the service’s Neighborhood Police Unit (NPU). Of note is the application of SROI techniques in this evaluation process. SROI, a methodology that emerged from the not-for-profit sector, helps researchers identify sources of value outside of those considered through traditional valuation techniques, such as cost-benefit analysis. Evaluation of Peel Police’s SRO program was motivated by a number of factors. First, the costs of this program are both easy to identify and significant (just over $9 million per year). Second, it is very challenging to identify the value that this program provides to students and the community. The challenges of quantifying the value offered by assigning full-time SROs to Canadian high schools is evidenced by the fact that such programs are rare, as police services around the world have responded to pressures to economize by removing officers from schools and either eliminating the role of the SRO or having one officer attend to many schools.
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