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Sheriff Penzone favors more police in Arizona schools but funding an issue

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – Campus security remains a concern for Arizona and local law enforcement leaders, starting with Gov. Doug Ducey and including Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone.

Penzone said he supported Ducey’s call for an officer on high school campuses, which the governor addressed briefly in his State of the State speech this week.

Ducey said his budget would include enough money for police on any school that wanted one.

“Having law enforcement professionals on campus who have a limited responsibility solely for safety, I absolutely support (Ducey),” Penzone said Tuesday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos.

“… but as a society we need to find ways to do a better job to keep the threat away from the schools so that we’re not dependent on officers to keep our children safe on the campus,” he said.

A year ago, Ducey introduced a school safety plan that wanted more police in schools, more counselors, improved background checks and restricting “dangerous individuals” from having access to firearms.

The bill failed after many legislators said they thought the gun stipulation could violate civil rights.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to consider this or that we have a need for it,” Penzone said.

“But I commend the governor by having the courage to speak to it and want to find a way to fund it because it is absolutely a step in the right direction for safety.”

Penzone said something similar about funding in 2018, after Ducey revealed his Safe Arizona Schools Plan, in response to the deadly shooting at a Florida high school.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.

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