Do Police in Schools Mean More Kids Charged with Crimes?

A New York Times story with implications for Portland budgeting

As Portland City Hall continues looking for $21.5 million in budget cuts, one of the expenses under the microscope is 23 police officers in Portland Public Schools.

The school resource officers, a $2.4 million annual expense, have been offered up by the Portland Police Bureau as a possible cut—the cops say patrolling schools isn't part of their core mission.

But as WW has previously reported, that offer puts Mayor Charlie Hales in a tough position, since he's loudly called for increased school security in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre.

A New York Times story last week may offer City Hall one good case for abandoning school police: Cops in schools means more crime in schools.  

The Times story, set mostly in Houston, explains:

Advocates for Portland's school resource officers say the cops here are different—more interested in helping students than making arrests. And the City Budget Office cited that distinction in its analysis of school policing last month.

The budget office wrote that arrests in Portland Public Schools might rise without school police, since the units "prioritize keeping youth out of the criminal justice system when possible by working with community based restorative justice options."

Despite that, the budget office recommended cutting all but two of the school police.

WWeek 2015

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