Calling the cops: Policing in California schools

Every school day, police respond to thousands of calls from schools across California. Along with the patrols and security checks are thousands of serious incidents, some of them violent. In this continuing investigation, EdSource offers a rare view of what goes on inside schools that the public rarely gets to hear about because of the state’s strict laws related to disclosing information related to juveniles.

This unprecedented look at school policing reveals the vast presence of police in schools and comes at a time when some school communities, in the years following the police murder of George Floyd, are debating how much and what kind of policing they want and need.

An analysis of nearly 46,000 police calls from 164 police agencies involving 852 school sites – data which EdSource has published at – reveals that nearly a third of all calls were about serious incidents that reasonably required a police presence, a definition obtained from experts. Of the serious incidents, more than a third involved violence which is defined as anything involving a violent act.

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Calling the Cops: an EdSource investigation into policing in California schools

EdSource’s Calling the Cops investigation obtained an unprecedented trove of police call data for 852 school addresses covered by 164 local police, sheriffs and school-district police, which we have made public on our database website.

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