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Arizona lawmakers propose $50 million to put officers on school campuses

Arizona lawmakers are working on a state budget and one proposal includes money for school safety and adding more officers on campus.
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 7:16 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- After the mass shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead in Uvalde, Texas, state lawmakers in Arizona are working on a new budget that would also increase school safety. Several GOP lawmakers are pushing to spend more tax dollars to put police officers at schools.

The proposal would spend an additional $50 million a year to hire roughly 415 school resource officers. However, not all lawmakers are on board. The top Democrat in the state’s House, Rep. Reginald Bolding, opposes the new state budget proposal. “Here in Arizona and in America we have a gun violence problem and we have to make sure we are looking at things like violent history background checks, red flag laws. But to add more guns into schools just does not seem like the appropriate response,” he said.

He also added that he felt having more officers would not solve the overall issue. “(Student resource Officers) in and of themselves don’t solve the problem we have when people go into churches, when they go to entertainment districts, when they go to grocery stores. If a child has a mental health issue and they get their hands on a gun, this doesn’t solve that problem,” said Bolding.

Some support the new proposal, including Sen. T.J. Shope, a Republican from Coolidge. He says it’s money well spent going toward more security at schools. Shope added he believes it is the best way to protect kids and teachers and maintain the rights of law-abiding gun owners. “When you look at Uvalde, the kid went in there to get the gun; he passed a background check that had to be administered because he went to an actual store,” said Shope. It is unclear if the budget proposal has a chance of passing due to the number of votes required for approval.