ORO VALLEY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The town of Oro Valley is in the national spotlight for being one of few communities in the country that have preserved a School Resource Officer Program.
Several lawmakers, including a representative from Governor Jan Brewer's office have contacted the Oro Valley police department to get information on their program. It is being viewed as a model program by other communities.
Even the National Rifle Association put a spotlight on Oro Valley in their latest video release, stating the benefits of having school resource officers in places like Oro Valley.
In a special presentation to the council on Wednesday evening, police chief Daniel Sharp said, like most departments he had struggled with funding the program as well, but in the end, keeping officers in schools was one of his highest priorities.
Thanks in part, to funding by the Amphi school district, all public schools in Oro Valley have at least one school resource officer working there.
They have had officers in schools for more than 30 years. Chief Sharp said, this program was more than putting a cop with a gun inside a school. These resource officers were trained to be teachers and counselors as well. He put the emphasis on the word "resource."
Sharp said his school resource officers taught several crime prevention classes, everything from drug/alcohol prevention, to traffic safety, anger management skills, and even forensic education. They were trusted face for both teachers, students, and their parents.
Sharp said officers had helped prevent many situations from getting out of hand in Oro Valley schools. They had even had cases where students told them about another student who had brought a gun to school.
Chief Sharp said if you break down the cost for all 40,000 Oro Valley residents, each one was paying about $17 a year to keep school resource officers in Oro Valley schools.