Local law enforcement agencies have been asked to play an increasingly prominent role in ensuring school safety. Youth violence, gangs, and drugs are important issues not only for federal and local policy makers, but for school administrators, parents, and students as well. The community policing philosophy has become a critical element to making schools safer in the 21st Century. State and local law enforcement agencies are bringing community policing to schools:
As of May 2002, COPS has played an instrumental role in supplying more than 2,300 law enforcement agencies with over 4,900 School Resource Officers through its popular COPS in Schools (CIS) program. This program is designed to assist law enforcement agencies in hiring new, additional SROs to engage in community policing in and around primary and secondary schools. This program provides an incentive for law enforcement agencies to build collaborative partnerships with the school community and to use community policing to combat school violence. These officers have helped to improve school safety and student development around the country.
In addition, through the School Based Partnership Program (SBP) the COPS Office has provided funding specifically to develop problem-solving partnerships between local police, schools, and community-based organizations. These partnerships focus on developing cooperative solutions to specific crime problems through the use of the SARA problem-solving model.
The COPS Office, along with other U.S. Department of Justice components, recognizes the challenges local law enforcement and schools face when confronting school safety issues. The federal government is therefore involved in providing Guides & Reports and Training & Technical Assistance to community members, school officials, and local law enforcement that are interested in increasing school safety. The COPS Office has also provided Links to Other Resources to assist in this important effort.