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Arizona board to offer more training for school resource officers

(Cronkite News Photo/Faith Miller)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board is hosting advanced training for school resource officers starting this month, the governor’s office announced Thursday.

Patrick Ptak, spokesman for Gov. Doug Ducey, said the idea was born from state Rep. Alma Hernandez’s advocacy.

Hernandez has said she was severely injured by a school resource officer when she was in high school.

“Because of that communication and collaboration that happened, we were able to connect Rep. Hernandez with what’s known as AZPOST … to be able to set up additional training,” Ptak said.

He said the training will focus on crisis intervention and de-escalation, and funding for it was passed in the fiscal year 2020 budget.

“The type of training that these SROs will receive relates to better preparing them to deal with issues that may involve adolescent development, or mental health issues, potentially family issues … and really equipping them to better de-escalate situations that might occur on school grounds,” Ptak said.

Hernandez said she supports the move.

“I am thrilled to see our idea to better protect students on campus become a reality,” she said in a press release.

“No student should ever have to experience what I experienced at school — and with this training, we can help ensure no student does.”

The training is mandatory, and each school resource officer will have 12 months to complete it.

The first 12-hour training session will be held Nov. 18-19 with 50 participants and the second Nov. 20-21, both in Maricopa County.

Ptak said the state is planning to offer more sessions in northern and southern Arizona early next year.

In addition to funding the training, the state recently approved $20 million to go toward hiring more officers, counselors and social workers for schools.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Nailea Leon contributed to this report. 

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