CCJH's New School Resource Officer Emphasizes Safety and Community

MESA, Ariz. - Sept. 1, 2022 - PRLog -- Students and parents can breath a little easier with the addition of a full-time school resource officer from the Apache Junction Police Department on campus at Cactus Canyon Jr. High, 801 W. Southern Ave. in Apache Junction.

"I want to make CCJH a place where students and teachers can feel safe so that they can concentrate on their educational goals," said Harshman. "I hope to be a source of confidence for parents who send their kids to CCJH."

Police presence on the campus is more than deterring external threats.

"I want to build trust with the kids through positive interactions. Generally speaking people only call the police when something has gone wrong so interactions between SRO's  and students could be the only positive interaction kids in our community have with Law Enforcement," said Harshman.

Harshman starts and ends his day at the intersection of Southern and San Marcos where he directs traffic. Due to the inclusion sixth graders at CCJH, there are more students than in past years and through his direction drop off and pickup traffic flows more smoothly.

However, once school is in session CCJH's SRO spends a significant amount of time patrolling the campus and checking perimeter doors and being on the lookout  for possible safety issues or potential threats.

So far, the 2022-2023 school year has been quiet.

"My most exciting moment so far this year was catching a six-inch scorpion that was crawling around one of the classrooms in the 200 building," Harshman said.

The unwelcome arachnid was given a warning and released in the State Trust Land  just east of the school.

While Harshman's role is new to some newcomers, many students and parents remember him from his previous assignment of five years as a DARE officer at AJUSD.. He also coached cross county during that time.

The AJUSD connection runs even deeper.

Harshman, and his wife Kristian Harshman, put their six children through AJUSD schools. The police corporal's mother-in-law, Elaine Fugate, taught at CCJH for 40 years.
Kristian Harshman was both a student and a teacher for the district.

""My position as SRO is not simply a job, it is a passion. I have a heart for the City of Apache Junction and for AJUSD. I want to see our schools and our kids succeed."

For more information about CCJH or AJUSD schools and enrollment visit

Sally Ann Marks
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Tags:School Safety
Location:Mesa - Arizona - United States
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