Tempe Union High School District to phase out resource officers
PHOENIX – The Tempe Union High School District has voted to phase out the use of local police as school resource officers by next August.
The decision passed by a narrow 3-2 vote late Wednesday.
The move follows the Phoenix Union High School District, which pulled resource officers from campuses in July 2020.
During the session, which was livestreamed, the governing board heard from dozens of people both for and against the use of resource officers.
“Having the police presence on campus full time, I don’t believe that’s a sustainable practice for multiple reasons,” board member Susan James said.
“My opinion aside, we are tasked with a budget; we need better solutions. I don’t want to wait another year-and-a-half or a year and be asked for another lump sum of money and have this argument.”
Tempe Police Chief Jeff Glover told the board resource officers are of vital importance for the safety of students.
“The school SRO program has literally saved lives,” he said. “Many lives within the schools. The students are there with our school resource officers because our SROs are there building relationships with them.”
Officers are assigned from the Tempe Police Department as well as the Phoenix Police Department. The school district is made up of six campuses, including two in Phoenix.
About 14,000 students attend classes at Corona del Sol High, Desert Vista High, Marcos de Niza High, McClintock High, Mountain Pointe High and Tempe High.
Rebecca Solis, a senior at Desert Vista High in Phoenix, feels the dollars spent on SROs could be better used on mental health resources for students.
“It would be better to use the funding set aside for SROs to get more counselors, social workers and psychologists to support our social and emotional needs.”
Former Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff implored the board to keep the SROs on campus.
“It’s a great program with great officers. We’ve had great support from the community and faculty. You heard a lot of positive comments … Please don’t do this.”