In response to several pieces of state legislation aimed at increasing safety in public school settings, school districts in Florida were provided state funding and given the autonomy to partner with local law enforcement agencies on school safety issues. One such issue is providing safety for students with disabilities, namely; autism. A school district in central Florida chose to ensure either a city police officer or sheriff deputy was placed in each public school within their zone, serving as a school resource officer (SRO). The purpose of this research study was to examine the lived experiences of SROs, including exploration of the training they receive to prepare them for their roles. The researcher used a phenomenological methodology research design for the study. Eight participants (N = 8) who were SROs serving at middle schools in a central Florida public school district were interviewed using a semi-structured interview protocol. The researcher performed an analysis of the SROs' interview responses using thematic analysis, member checking, and repeated interviews. From the analysis, 4 themes- (a) law enforcement, (b) relationships, (c) school safety, and (d) training and preparation and 15 subthemes emerged. With the requirement that a law enforcement officer be present at each school in the school district, understanding what this essential role entails is relevant to stakeholders with a vested interest in school safety concerns.
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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
Learning Sciences and Educational Research
Curriculum and Instruction
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Bridges, Tricia, "Law Enforcement in Schools: Evolving Roles in Florida" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 603.
Restricted to the UCF community until February 2021; it will then be open access.