Source: US State of Arizona
PHOENIX — The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZPOST) this month is hosting an advanced training course for school resource officers. The implementation of the course, Adolescent Mental Health Training for School Resource Officers, was prompted by Representative Alma Hernandez’s advocacy for better training after she had a negative experience with a school resource officer when she was a student.
After hearing about her experience, the governor’s office reached out to Representative Hernandez to work toward measures to prevent these very serious issues in the future. Governor Doug Ducey included additional funding in the AZPOST Fiscal Year 2020 budget to ensure the implementation of the training courses and that participants and respective departments did not have to absorb the cost of the training.
“These courses will make a big difference to improve safety in our schools — and Representative Alma Hernandez deserves a lot of credit,” said Governor Ducey. “Ensuring school resource officers have the training they need will help keep Arizona’s students safe and on the track to success. My sincere appreciation and thanks goes to Representative Hernandez for sharing her story and her commitment to keep Arizona students safe.”
“I am thrilled to see our idea to better protect students on campus become a reality,” said Representative Hernandez. “No student should ever have to experience what I experienced at school — and with this training, we can help ensure no student does. I’m grateful to the governor’s office for their help in addressing school safety issues and providing these courses to school resource officers.”
The course was designed by the National Association of School Resource Officers and will be implemented by its staff members. It will focus on understanding adolescent development, adolescent mental health disorders and treatment, crisis intervention and de-escalation, school resources officers’ roles and responsibilities, family experiences and connections to resources.
One course session will be held at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Training Academy on November 18th and 19th and the other will be held at the Mesa Police Department Training Academy on November 20th and 21st. Both sessions are 12 hours and are at capacity with 50 participants. Early next year, AZPOST will host course sessions in northern Arizona and southern Arizona — ensuring school resource officers statewide have the opportunity to take the course.
Arizona is committed to providing students a safe environment to learn and putting them on a path to a bright and fulfilling future. Arizona passed in 2018 the 20×2020 plan, which is raising teacher pay 20 percent by 2020. Additionally, the governor’s office worked to ensure millions of dollars proposed by Governor Ducey and included in this year’s budget for more school counselors and school resource officers was distributed to schools this year rather than next.