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Horne, Gress want lawmakers to support bill to implement new school safety measures

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne is backing HB 2400, which would implement some of the recommendations made by his school safety task force last year.

The bipartisan task force met several times in 2023, in part, to brainstorm solutions to the state’s officer shortage. 

Every school that asked for a school resource officer through the state’s grant program last year was given the funding, but many districts were unable to fill the positions.

Now Horne and Rep. Matt Gress (R-Phoenix) want lawmakers to support a bill that would make retired officers eligible for the grant program. Under current state law, retirees officers cannot work as school resource officers.

The bill would add school safety officers to the grant program. Those are officers assigned to schools on a part-time basis to fill in gaps when full time officers are not available. The state partnered with a company called Off Duty Management to connect off duty officers to those positions in October.

The bill would also allow schools to apply for the purchase of safety technology, training, and infrastructure improvements.

Senior field correspondent Bridget Dowd has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.