Ducey: Cops on campus promise was in response to Parkland shooting

Jan 22, 2019, 6:52 PM | Updated: 6:53 pm

PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey said the promise he made during his State of the State address to put more cops on school campuses is an effort to prevent mass shootings.

“We’re including enough dollars (in the state budget) to put a cop on every campus that needs one,” he said in the speech.

His fiscal year 2020 budget proposal includes $9.3 million to place a school resource officer on 89 campuses that applied for one in past years but did not receive one due to lack of funding.

Ducey told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos on Tuesday that the idea was in response to the shooting that killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, last year.

He said during a meeting of governors, he saw Florida Gov. Rick Scott speak about how he was dealing with the fallout.

“Now Arizona’s not perfect, but thank God we haven’t dealt with one of these mass, cable news stories of a mass shooting,” Ducey said.

“I said, ‘Why does a governor have to be responsive?’ Let’s be proactive. What can we do to prevent and avoid this?”

Ducey said he and his staff studied the largest mass shootings over the past 20 years to find ideas to increase school safety.

“When things break bad, when there’s trouble, who do we call? Our brave men and women in blue,” he said.

“A cop on a campus, a school resource officer can be part of the solution.”

Ducey said he introduced this idea in March with his Safe Arizona Schools Plan, and there are some Arizona schools that already have a police presence on campus.

Some of those campuses are asking for more officers, he said.

The funding is focused on providing schools with law enforcement, but Ducey said he also wants to put more school counselors in place to help students with mental and emotional issues.

The budget proposal includes $12 million over the next two years dedicated to funding 224 school counselors.

Ducey said another bill doesn’t need to be passed to authorize this spending — the budget itself is the bill that allows the funding to be used for these purposes.

“It will take over 90 days after we pass the budget in terms of getting the cops on campus and getting those dollars appropriated over the next 18 months,” he said.

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone told Mac & Gaydos last week that he supports Ducey’s plan.

“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.”

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Ducey: Cops on campus promise was in response to Parkland shooting