School Resource Officer Program (Synopsis)

Toronto Police Service

Description: As a part of the overarching Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS), the Toronto Police Service is connecting with youth in the schools through the School Resource Officer (SRO) program. This program is a partnership between the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board and the Toronto Police Service. SROs work in partnership with students, teachers, school administrators, school boards, parents, other police officers and the community to establish and maintain a healthy and safe school community. The School Resource Officer program began in 2008 with 30 officers assigned to 30 Toronto high schools. By the 2010/11 school year, 46 schools were participating. The program continues to upgrade its efficiency and effectiveness through ongoing training and ongoing communication between the Toronto Police Service and the school boards.
Objective: The objectives of the School Resource Officer program are to improve safety (real and perceived) in and around public schools, improve the perception of the police amongst youth in the community and improve the relationship between students and police.
Outcomes: The program has met its key objectives. Two evaluations of the program have been completed, in 2009 and 2011. The evaluations indicate that the School Resource Officer program had a positive effect in schools, and in particular, a positive effect on students, who felt comfortable talking to their SROs. The program continues to show positive results. In particular, students are increasingly willing to report crime once they have interacted informally with their SRO, and there has been a decrease in weapons offences in and around schools.
Resources: This initiative required significant funding to pay for 30 officers, which was made possible through a one-year provincial grant of $2.1 million, aimed at addressing the increased gun violence in the city of Toronto. Other costs included the set-up costs in each school, including office space, a desk and sometimes a telephone line or Internet connection. Continued funding is currently being sought.
Province: Ontario
Record Entry Date: 2013-08-01
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