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Phoenix To Pay $2.8 Million To Put Police Officers In Schools

Phoenix Police Chief
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams explains the role of school resource officers at a city council meeting.

A contract to place dozens of Phoenix police officers into schools gained more attention in light of President Trump’s decision to end a program that provided legal protection to some undocumented young people.

During Wednesday’s council meeting, Police Chief Jeri Williams was asked to explain the officers’ roles.

“There’s a triad approach to school resource officers,” she said. “They are mentors, they are educators. And, last in that triad, they are enforcers.”

Williams told council members her officers do not call federal immigration authorities to campus, but remain in compliance with the law.

“You know there are a lot of raw emotions in the community and I don’t think anyone can deny that,” said Councilman Daniel Valenzuela.

He supports school resource officers and encouraged the Chief to keep talking with parents and students so they understand each officer’s role.

“It is a resource, that person is a resource,” he said. “And, yes, should something happen we’re all going to be very, very glad that we have a police officer that is already on scene.”

The council approved agreements with 22 districts at 94 schools to provide 83 school resource officers this school year.

According to a city report, the districts cover 75 percent of salaries with Phoenix picking up the rest, estimated at $2.8 million.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.