NIJ Announces Research Grant on Police and Technology in Schools

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has announced the fiscal year 2013 Evaluation Research on Police and Technology in Schools funding opportunity. NIJ will fund evaluations of the use of police and technology in schools to enhance the safety of school buildings and reduce fear among students and teachers. Evaluations also should include an analysis of the costs and benefits of these enhancements to the community.

The NIJ provided the following program-specific information:

Law enforcement officers and technologies have been used to enhance safety in schools for more than over 50 years in the United States. Yet, there has been no objective evaluation of the effects, outcomes, and impacts of these interventions in school settings. With this solicitation, NIJ requests evaluation research on the effects of police and technologies on school safety.

Police were assigned increasingly to provide services to school buildings with the occurrence of a number of school shooting incidents in the 1990s. The Department of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Office, provided funding for the hiring of School Resource Officers in 1999. By 2000, more than half of the schools in the United States had some form of enhanced security including police officers and technology such as dogs, cameras, metal detectors, etc. To date, however, there has been little evaluation research to validly measure the direct effects of these interventions on enhancing the safety of school buildings, reducing fear among students and teachers, or the costs/benefits of these enhancements to the community.

NIJ funded two descriptive studies of law enforcement in school settings about 10 years ago.

1 About the same time, NIJ also funded national research on delinquency prevention programs in schools.2 These studies remain valuable sources for detailed information regarding the use of law enforcement and technologies in schools in the United States.

A meeting of the NIJ Crime Prevention Research Working Group was convened in 2010 to examine recent findings in situational, developmental, and community crime prevention research and identify important issues, questions, and gaps in the existing research.3 Research on the use of law enforcement officers and technology in schools was identified as a priority area for needed research.

With this solicitation, NIJ is requesting applications for research to evaluate the use of police and technology in schools. The proposed research should be comprehensive and include assessment of aspects such as school ecology, culture, climate, and social capital in addition to outcomes and other impacts. Logic models should be provided and include assessment of implementation processes and outputs, proximal and distal outcomes. A cost-benefit component should be included as part of the proposed research design. Multi-method, multi-measurement, and multiple year projects will be given priority in funding. Administrative agreements with participating school districts are required and should be provided in the funding application.

Applications are due June 3.

Read the full description.

Visit the NIJ’s funding page for more information.

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