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Phoenix exploring ways to add more cops in schools

Phoenix has 69 school resource officers, five more than last year. Full-time SROs spent most of their workweek on campus. Phoenix recently trained more cops to serve as school safety officers, doing the same work as SROS, but on their days off from the force. 

Lori Bays, assistant city manager, said a state grant program covers 75% of sworn officers compensation.

“What we are exploring is alternative options to either bring back retirees in different capacities, it could be a civilian capacity, it could be a sworn capacity and we’re exploring all the nuances on the impact it would have either on their retirement or their pension payments if they’re receiving those,” she told council members.

Some leaders, including Councilwoman Ann O'Brien, want to make sure that every school that wants a cop on campus can get one.  

“Some of the rules and procedures and state laws that are set up today were developed at a time when officers were aplenty and those days have long been gone and it is certainly time for us to reevaluate where we are,” she said.

O’Brien would like to see a process where retired officers can return as civilian or sworn school resource officers. She’s part of a statewide task force studying school safety.

The state program does not currently allow grants to cover civilians in roles similar to school resource officers. 

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