2015 School-Based Law Enforcement Training Summits Evaluation Report

Executive Summary

The Texas School Safety Center, through its Institute for Criminal Justice Studies (ICJS) program, provides specialized training for law enforcement officers to meet the safety and security challenges that schools face today. The mission of the ICJS is to develop and deliver research-based training for Texas Peace law enforcement officers while placing an emphasis on school-based law enforcement. Process and outcome evaluations of School-Based Law Enforcement Summits are routinely conducted to determine if the program's objectives are being reached and/or what improvements can be made to better serve school-based officers.

Introduction

There are many safety and security challenges that schools face today. The Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) strives to help schools meet these challenges by providing specialized training for law enforcement officers through its Institute for Criminal Justice Studies (ICJS) program. The mission of the program is to develop and deliver research-based training for Texas Peace law enforcement officers, with special focus on school-based law enforcement. The program includes specialized school-based law enforcement training on a variety of topics. Process and outcome evaluations of School-Based Law Enforcement Summits held between March and August were conducted to determine if the program's 2015 objectives were reached.

Process and outcome evaluations of School-Based Law Enforcement Summits held between March and August were conducted to determine if the program's 2015 objectives were reached.

The ICJS program outlined the following objectives for trainings conducted during 2015.

  1. Ensure that delivery of training achieves a broad scope of impact.
  2. Develop and disseminate knowledge regarding research-based practices to school-based law enforcement officers.
  3. Ensure continued delivery of a quality training program.
  4. Utilize improvement indicators to enhance development of current and new training content.

Methods

Participants were asked to complete several forms and questionnaires both pre- and post-training. First they were asked to fill out a registration form: second, they were asked to complete a pre-training assessment, which measured baseline knowledge and included questions regarding basic demographic characteristics such as the type of school where the participant worked, and amount of experience in their position.

Following the training, participants were asked to complete an assessment to measure the amount of knowledge that was gained. Participants also completed evaluation forms to rate individual presenters and the overall event. Presenter rating questions were designed to assess whether the presenter spoke clearly, was engaging, was knowledgeable about the topic, and allowed audience participation. Participants were given a chance to provide open-ended feedback.

Finally, participants were asked to complete an online follow-up questionnaire four to six months following the training in order to measure knowledge retention. The second part of this questionnaire asked participants to report the usefulness of the training content, in regards to their role as police officers assigned to a school. Participants rated each training topic and selected the most or least useful sub-topics. They were also given a chance to suggest additional topics that might be useful to them.

Findings

  • Mean scores improved by an average of 28.4 percent between pre- and post-training assessments.
  • Average ratings of presenters were between 4 and 5 points, out of a maximum score of 5.
  • Scores on follow-up assessments were higher than scores on pre-training assessments, suggesting that participants were able to retain the information they learned.
  • Participants found trainings to be very useful: when asked to rate usefulness on a scale of 1 to 10 several months after the training, every topic received a score of 8 or higher.
  • Topics rated as most useful include Class C Misdemeanor Enforcement of School Property, Understanding Gang Prevention/Intervention Strategies, Roles of School-Based Law Enforcement, and Indicators of Children at Risk, among others.
  • When asked to recommend additional topics that might be useful to address during trainings, open carry, pending bills, gang trends and identification, social media, and the roles of school-based law enforcement were suggested most often by participants.