Cops on Campus: Police substation set up at Goodyear elementary school

- An elementary school in Goodyear launched an innovative partnership with police right after the Sandy Hook mass shooting. 

Mabel Padgett Elementary is a kindergarten through 5th grade school with about 800 students. The principal here had a great idea that builds law enforcement relationships and adds an extra layer of security for the school.

"This substation is meant more for the patrol officers working this district.. they get a chance to come in, do paperwork," said Goodyear Police Officer Ryan Konings.

A designated police substation inside the school -- it's an idea Principal Gina DeCoste and her husband, who is in law enforcement, came up with after the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012. It's an innovative idea that would cost virtually nothing.

Goodyear police and the city quickly embraced the idea.

"Brilliant. Everybody was extremely positive and receptive about it," said DeCoste.

Goodyear patrol officers use the room to fill out paperwork or any other police business. Konings is a school resource officer for a nearby Goodyear high school, but drops in to this elementary school substation often.

"It's very rewarding coming onto campus and having those interactions with elementary school kids. They appreciate you and look up to you and being that positive role model for them," he said.

DeCoste adds, "Our parents love it and our students love seeing officers around the campus and having those relationships because almost all of them will come in and do their work and they'll walk around and kids are so excited to see them."

Would every school in the district like a police substation? Many would, but there just aren't enough officers to go around right now. Many are school resource workers at high schools. There are three other substations at elementary schools in the district.

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