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University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

The Influence of Subjective and Objective Rural School Security on Law Enforcement Engagement: A Mixed Methods Study

The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center is partnering with the Nebraska Department of Education on a study that examines how perceptions and organization of school safety and security relate to law enforcement engagement in rural schools across the state of Nebraska. While rural schools engage with law enforcement, they often do not label the engagement as part of a formal “school resource officer” (SRO) model. This mixed methods research will: 1) lead to a taxonomy of how law enforcement is engaged in rural schools that can be tested against behavioral outcomes, 2) assess the nature of school perceptions of safety and security, and 3) examine how safety and security preparedness is associated with law enforcement engagement in rural schools. A self-assessment using the state’s safety and security standards rubric is being obtained from Nebraska schools, which is validated through objective on-site reviews. Center researchers will gather data via an online survey from rural school personnel and law enforcement representatives about perceptions and protocols guiding their relationship.


This project was supported by Award No. 2016-CK-BX-0019, awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.

Pictured L to R: Dr. Denise Bulling, NUPPC; Dr. Mario Scalora, NUPPC; Dr. Jolene Palmer, Nebraska Department of Education


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