State school safety centers (SSSCs) aim to provide a wide range of services to enhance school security. Still, more information is needed to understand how the centers should operate and what factors determine their success.

In 2021, the WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center received funding from the U.S. National Institute of Justice to conduct one of the first empirical studies of SSSCs. This brief is based on an online survey that asked key informants in each state to assess the history, characteristics, and activities of state school safety centers (SSSCs). Key findings include:

  • Over 65% of respondents reported that their state has or has had an SSSC, and over 96% reported that the SSSC was still operational
  • A majority (62%) of SSSCs have been established in the last decade
  • Over 65% of respondents reported that their SSSC was started in response to state legislation, with 28% attributing the creation to a response to incidents of violence in schools
  • Over 70% of currently operational SSSCs were reported to be situated within larger state agencies
  • A large majority of respondents indicated that their SSSC was funded by state and/or federal funds
  • Over 75% of respondents reported that their SSSC had 10 or fewer staff

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