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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions May 24, 2016

12/29/2012 1:07:00 PM
Editorial: No talk, just action from Chief Fanning
Jody Fanning
Jody Fanning

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, it was standard fare across the nation in the days afterward for police to make their presence known on school campuses.

Cottonwood was no exception.

In many ways, it was a gesture that provided some much needed assurance to shell-shocked students and teachers alike.

But for the most part, it was a symbolic gesture, and certainly not a permanent solution.

Cottonwood Police Chief Jody Fanning doesn’t claim to have a permanent solution to such mindless massacres. But at the same time, his show of force on Cottonwood’s campuses in the days following the Sandy Hook nightmare does not fall into the here-today, gone-tomorrow symbolic category.

As much as possible, Fanning says his officers, including himself, will continue to be a regular and visible presence at schools in Cottonwood.

“Command staff, including myself, will make sporadic morning visits,” the chief said. “On-duty officers will make random walks around the campuses. Additionally dayshift officers will be asked to use parking lots at the schools to write reports and take lunch breaks if possible.”

To his credit, Fanning is doing much more than just making a symbolic gesture when everyone from the Arizona Attorney General to the Arizona Legislature to the National Rife Association is talking about what should be done if only there was enough money.

Fanning is doing something. Plus, he’s doing it without going to the City Council with hat-in-hand. Even he admits it’s not a perfect fix, but it’s something.

It’s a lot more than just talking about it.

It bears emphasis that there was a time in Arizona that nearly every school in the state was staffed with School Resource Officers. Many schools in the Phoenix area still have these on-campus officers but they’ve all but dried up in rural Arizona as Arizona lawmakers diverted the federal funds used for the SRO program to solve other budget problems. A classic case of being penny-wise and pound foolish.

The Sandy Hook tragedy naturally has a lot of people talking about “what ifs” and finger-pointing at “why nots.”

In Cottonwood, police are simply stepping up and doing what must be done.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, January 6, 2013
Article comment by: Let's all get scared over the Feed the Fear campaign!

And now that police departments are given equipment to use from the military, Cottonwood police dept has HumVees now. I saw several of them today with the machine gun turret mounts still on the roof of the HumVees, parked out Cottonwood Police/Fire building.

Welcome to 1984. The USA is becoming a police state. Is this the direction that we want the USA to go???

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013
Article comment by: Feel Good

Yes, it was a feel good,, but it was needed. Just as it is not needed to become a permanent situation. The 'police state' commenters are right, we do not need police stationed at every school all the time passing the message that WE ARE ALL IN DANGER!!! However, in the immediate aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootongs, I think it was important for kids to see that there are 'good guys' around to protect and serve.
Also, as a graduate of the D.A.R.E. program, I must say that it was worthless. Tell one lie and all your credibilty is shot. Marijuana does not steal your soul, meth does, but they don't teach it that way.

Posted: Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Article comment by: Say No to DARE

There are no credible studies that the DARE program works. I found it to be largely a waste of time in my classroom over a dozen or more years. In addition, DARE officers are not on campus full time.
Best wishes and thanks to the chief Fanning for the gesture, but it's ultimately just a gesture. A feel good. Our schools should have permanent, inviolable law enforcement officers who are not only specialists in crisis management but who also know how to interact with kids, school staff and parents. Most importantly, these officers should be assigned to the schools FULL TIME, and NOT subject to being pulled off campus when they're needed elsewhere due to short staffed departments. Anything else is window dressing and unlikely to be much help when a heavily armed crazy decides to show up at school.

Posted: Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Article comment by: Ed Wood

Yay - a police state! Frighten the children into believing such rare attacks are imminent and they will be more docile, obedient and easy to control. Definitely worth the tax dollars. Thanks Chief. Another big win for the city brain trust!

Posted: Monday, December 31, 2012
Article comment by: G Martin

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!
Lets make this a permanent thing and hopefully NOT just a show of force for a short period of time. As this crime fades to the back of our mind and memory I pray this protection doesn't.

Posted: Monday, December 31, 2012
Article comment by: Country Boy

Excellent Job to Chief Fanning as well as the SRO staff in cottonwood.

I love the idea of Officers doing their reports on campus and trying to park there for lunch also, lets take that Idea one step further. Why don't we allow the officers that park there for reports and lunch if it is around the schools lunch periods go inside and have a free meal from the cafeterias on us to say thank you? Additionally it would allow the officers to interact with the students a little more at the cost of what, around $2.50 per officer per day?

Posted: Monday, December 31, 2012
Article comment by: Cottonwood Citizen

Exactly! Good Job Chief!

Posted: Monday, December 31, 2012
Article comment by: Theresa Wilson

I lived in Cottonwood for 28 years! I say a very big thank you to Mr. Fanning and all the Cottonwood officers involved. Thanks for stepping up to the plate and making kids and parents feel safe in our schools!

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Don't forget DARE

Let's not forget the DARE program specifically for elementary schools.

This is a grant-funded program that puts a uniformed peace officer into an elementary school as adjunct faculty to teach pre-teen kids how to resist peer pressure to smoke, do drugs, drink, make bad choices, etc.

This is the "just say no" program, and it is effective.

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