Three high schools in Peoria Unified School District now have school resource officers. Cactus, Ironwood and Raymond Kellis high schools are within the borders of the City of Glendale, and a separate intergovernmental agreement had to be signed by the PUSD governing board and Glendale officials. There are now SROs at all seven district high schools.
Two of the Glendale SROs were introduced at the Sept. 10 governing board meeting.
Officer Maurice Cunningham, an eight-year veteran of Glendale Police Department, will walk on the campus of Raymond Kellis High School. Prior to his tenure at Glendale PD, he served four years with the Arizona Department of Corrections. At Glendale PD, he served six years as a patrol officer and two years as an SRO at Apollo High School.
Cunningham said he enjoys the teaching part of being an SRO. He has nine years of coaching under his belt, most in youth football.
Officer Gerald Sydnor is a 12-year veteran of Glendale PD. He is the SRO assigned to Ironwood High School. Sydnor grew up in Glendale, graduated from Deer Valley High School, and attended Scottsdale Community College, where he played baseball. He then joined the Coast Guard for four and one-half years. Sydnor has also served as the public information officer for Glendale PD.
The third SRO, Officer Ryan Enos, who is assigned to Cactus High School, was unavailable because of assistant coaching duties at the high school. Enos has come full circle. He is a native of Arizona and a 2002 graduate of Cactus. He first worked with Glendale Parks and Recreation in its youth year-round sports programs. He has been with Glendale PD eight years.
PUSD official Steve Savoy called the SRO positions a “renewal of the partnership between PUSD and the City of Glendale.” He said it was the goal of PUSD to have an SRO at every high school campus. He called them counselors, teachers and role models.
PUSD Governing Board Member Matt Bullock asked Sydnor to describe a typical SRO’s day.
Sydnor said he arrives just before 7 a.m. each school day, goes to his office, walks around, and greets students. If administrators need to meet with him, he will take time for that. At lunch, he is out among the students again, talks with students, has positive interaction with them. If students need advice, or have legal questions, he guides them.
He said there is an intern at Ironwood, who is interested in criminal justice, and he is there to be a resource, and provide leadership.
“I try to be a positive role model on campus,” Sydnor said.
PUSD Governing Board Member Kathy Knecht told Sydnor and Cunningham, “You add such a wonderful piece to our campus.”