School security in Arizona: What's working and what's not - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

School security in Arizona: What's working and what's not

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -

It's been a little over 3 months since that awful shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. All over the country, lawmakers and police have scrambled to come with ideas to better secure schools. Arizona was no exception.

In fact, our state made national headlines with proposals to arm teachers. But where do all those ideas stand now? Which ones are working? We have a progress report.

The sheriff made a big splash when he dispatched his armed volunteer posse to school campuses across the county.

"Why not utilize a free resource at least as an interim program and stop complaining about it?" said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Another plan could put guns in the hands of teachers. Attorney General Tom Horne has rallied some republicans at the legislature to pass a law allowing a trained school employee access to a gun on campus.

"There should be one person in every school who is prepared to defend the children if that should ever be needed," said Tom Horne.

But why not have more school resource officers? That's what democrats at the capital want.

"Let's put them money in the program so that we have the SRO's available to the districts and the schools," said State Rep. Chad Campbell, Phoenix Democrat.

The democrats have their own proposal that includes more school counselors too. But all that comes at a cost.

Goodyear PD has taken it upon itself to outfit certain schools with workspaces for officers.

So there are four major ideas to protect schools, but the reality is not all of them are going to happen. The democrats' plan appears to going nowhere.

The senate just passed a bill allowing employees in small rural schools to carry guns. But it's still a long way from making it to the governor's desk.

The only two proposals that seem to going anywhere are the ones from Goodyear Police and the sheriff's office. But the big difference between the two is that Goodyear officers are not volunteers.

The Goodyear officers visit the schools every day.

"Just having an officer inside the school rather than parked out front, you get that interaction which I think is more important," said Goodyear Police Chief Jerry Geier

Chief Jerry Geier says he was approached by a school principal about the idea and didn't hesitate.

"It is a win-win. There is no cost, which is one of the most important things. It gets the officers in the schools and you have that presence there. And it gives the officer the chance to go in and use the phone or the computer. Whatever they need to do," said Geier.

As it stands now, three schools, all strategically picked throughout the west valley city, have set up space for the officers. And while the officers aren't there all the time, when they're there, their presence is known.

"You have immediate response. You already have someone on the scene. You have someone who can start taking action."

As for the sheriff's program, we were with a posse volunteer at an Anthem school the day it kicked off.

We went back two times about a month later and didn't see any marked sheriff's cars -- but parents say they've seen them and they've noticed the difference.

"It made us feel a little safe to know that the sheriff was around," said one parent.

"I think it will deter some people. Most people. But you can't stop crazy people from doing crazy things no matter what you do," said another parent.

That may be true, but considering what's at stake, it's worth the effort.

If the legislature comes up with to arm teachers, Governor Jan Brewer will, as always, have veto power.

She typically doesn't comment on pending legislation but has pointed to her record. A few years ago she vetoed a plan that would allow guns on college campuses.

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