Surprise kudos honor Tempe officer for his career keeping school campuses safe

Celebrants included, from left, Tempe Assistant Chief of Police Angel Carbajal; Taylor Bingold; Blaze Baggs (Larry's son); Officer Larry Baggs; Wendy Baggs; and Tempe Chief of Police Tom Ryff. — Photo courtesy Tempe Elementary Schools' Public Information Office
Celebrants included, from left, Tempe Assistant Chief of Police Angel Carbajal; Taylor Bingold; Blaze Baggs (Larry’s son); Officer Larry Baggs; Wendy Baggs; and Tempe Chief of Police Tom Ryff.
— Photo courtesy Tempe Elementary Schools’ Public Information Office

Connolly Middle School’s campus resource officer got a standing ovation at a recent school assembly—a welldeserved round of applause, as it turned out. Officer Larry Baggs was selected as the Law Related School Resource Officer of the Year by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education. Connolly’s assembly was planned as a surprise, and guests included members of the Tempe Police Department, resource officers from nearby Tempe schools, Tempe Elementary School District administrators and Baggs’ family. Baggs is an ASU graduate who has been with the Tempe Police Department for 29 years, nine of those serving as a resource officer. He was a detective for 17 years, including over 10 years as investigating homicides, with extensive training in instruction of law enforcement topics. Baggs’ expertise is such that he served as an instructor for the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy for 12 years. He also was an in-house instructor for Tempe PD years on a variety of law enforcement topics, and has been a guest speaker in university and community college classes. As an SRO, Baggs has consistently exceeded the 180-hour requirement, usually exceeding 250 hours. His supervisors report he had an average of less than 5 percent “off campus” time during his tenure as an SRO. Baggs is currently on staff of the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education’s LRE Academy as a facilitator/instructor. He attended a seminar in Washington, D.C., during the summer of 2009 to be a trainer of “Representative Democracy in America.” He has exceeded the requirements for training through the LRE Academy almost every year. In his previous assignment, at McKemy Middle School, Baggs was recommended as a model officer for possible mentoring of new SROs, and McKemy was recommended as a model site. Outside his law enforcement involvement, Baggs has served as a counselor for Boy Scouts; coached Little League; appeared as a speaker at Girl Scout meetings; and assisted with the Tempe All Stars Program, which is a citizenship-based after school program. He is an active participant each year in Tempe’s Youth Town Hall, bringing middle and high school students, along with SROs and JPOs and district Superintendents to discuss relevant issues that teens face in the Tempe community. The groups present their findings and recommendations to Tempe government officials. Another program in which he participates is Tempe Coalition, which a city-based program that focuses on drug prevention and awareness. In 2013, Baggs received the Life Saving Award from the Tempe Police Department and an Excellence Award from Tempe Elementary District #3 for saving the life of a Connolly student during school hours. He also received the 2013 MLK Diversity Award for his work at Connolly.

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