Arizona

Jan 9, 2013 7:47 PM by Lorraine Rivera

Legislator proposes funding for school resource officers

PHOENIX - A Phoenix legislator announced plans Wednesday for making schools safer.

Chad Campbell, the house minority leader said student safety must be a top priority. The democrat proposed state funding for the school resource officer program.

He said guns and mental illness must also be a part of the discussion moving forward. Campbell said more school counselors are also needed.

Charles Heller is a founder of the Arizona Citizen's Defense League and a local radio commenter, he has mixed feelings about the Campbell's proposal, "if we're hiring, using this as an excuse to get more people and to expand government then it's a crappy idea but if we're doing it to expand security and security alone, then it's a great idea."

Tucson Police were forced to end the school resource officer program in 2007 said Sargent Chris Widmer,"if the money is for school resource officers then yeah if we have money for school resource officers then we'll definitely implement the program but right now it's just not possible."

Heller said he believes using retired officers as volunteer on a reserve program would be more beneficial, "allow them to patrol around the campus. Their only function is security give them a radio, a cell phone. Maybe a camera, in case they see something suspicious, their phone can be a camera. Now you've got the boots on the ground. The eyes and the ears ready to do what needs to be done in a school." He said the officers would be armed.

Currently, the Oro Valley police department has a school resource program, the department's chief said it is successful and one they expect to continue funding.

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