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Ducey wants resource officer for Phoenix school in high-crime area

(Google Maps Photo)

PHOENIX — The Arizona State Board of Education voted Friday to unanimously approve a request by Gov. Doug Ducey to provide a school resource officer to an elementary school located in a Phoenix neighborhood with high crime rates.

Wilson Elementary School was not originally picked to get funding for a resource officer in the latest round of the state’s school safety grant program, which expanded this year with $20 million in new funding.

“We find that unacceptable,” said Patrick Ptak, communications director for Ducey, prior to the vote. “We clearly see a need for this school to have a school resource officer.”

Ptak said the school is in an area where numerous homicides have taken place in recent years. He said having a school resource officer on campus “is a deterrent” for criminals in the area.

He added the officer would be instrumental in “talking with students and discouraging them from engaging in dangerous habits.”

Last week, the Arizona Department of Education released the list of school safety grant recipients, and said it picked recipients based on a “tiered scoring rubric.” It announced funding would be provided for 148 school counselors, 118 social workers and 116 school resource officers.

Wilson Elementary was left out from the list.

Ducey looked to change that. He submitted a letter to the State Board of Education, requesting that Wilson Elementary School be included in the list of grantees.

He said his office worked with the Department of Public Safety “to identify adequate funding to support this request.”

Board members also voted Friday to approve the final list of school safety grant recipients.

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