Fueled by concerns about school violence, the number of School Resource Officers (SROs) in the United States has soared. SROs are law enforcement officers who work in elementary and secondary schools and who are tasked to increase school safety. As of 2016, 48 percent of US public schools had SROs, compared to less than one percent in the 1970s, yet there are few studies that measure their effects. In particular, the literature largely ignores rural/urban differences. This study uses survey data from SROs working in public schools in Oklahoma to understand their roles and to determine if there are differences between rural and urban SROs. We look at jurisdiction and school characteristics as well as SRO perceptions of disciplinary practices, school climate, referrals, and community involvement. Identifying variability in these areas is a requisite first step in understanding the effect of the SRO on school safety.

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