LRE Officer of the Year Award

The Law-Related Education Officer of the Year Award recognizes exceptional contributions of Arizona police and probation officers in furthering education and understanding of the role of the law in our democratic society. This award focuses on public awareness on the contributions that the officer provides to the community and Arizona schools.

Nominations are due March 1st and are to include the individual's name; school if applicable; address & other contact information; the award for which they are being nominated and contact information of the nominators; a summary of their characteristics, experiences, and service that qualifies them for the award; and support letters from others may be included. The nomination should be sent to The Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education, ATTN: Kevin S. Ruegg, 4201 N. 24th Street, Suite 210, Phoenix, AZ 85016 or fax to 602-271-4930.  You may also email materials to


2017 Officer of the Year Award

Officer Jason GroenOfficer Jason Groen
Phoenix Police Department, Bethune Elementary

Officer Groen has been with Bethune Elementary for the last 4 years, and has consistently gone above and beyond.  In addition to completing the mandatory LRE cohort hours, Officer Groen gets involved with the community with school events, anti-bullying patrol squads, Wake-Up Club, and bicycle events to provide students the opportunity to participate in fun structured activities outside of school hours. 

Through these activities he has made a positive impact in the lives of the students of Bethune.

"I am happy you are at our school.  You taught me lots of things.  You are good at teaching." - Elementary student.


2016 Officer of the Year Award

Officer Fernando Gomez
Chandler Police Department, Aprende Middle School, San Tan Junior High School

Officer Gomez has spent the last six years as a School Resource Officer going above and beyond. He has taught over 271 hours (only 180 are required) creating a positive impact among the students, teachers, parents and staff.  He has been one of the leaders in organizing the Chandler Police Department Wilderness Trip Experience for junior high kids.  This week long program teaches kids to understand nature,constructive interaction and good character.

Gomez has developed or been involved in several other programs to get students engaged including 3 on 3 basketball tournament, Chandler Police Youth Academy, and Cyber Safety classes.  He is a great asset to his department, school and community.


2015 Officer of the Year Award

Officer Stephen Dieu
Summit Jr. High School

Often referred to as “Super SRO” by colleagues, Officer Dieu has exceeded his requirements of LRE by almost 100 hours so far this school year. Additionally, he assists with the neighboring elementary school to help with younger students and teachers. Officer Dieu has been instrumental to Summit and to other schools in securing grant funding for years to come. Officer Dieu is a faculty member at the Foundation and assists in development and instruction of LRE curriculum. Officer Dieu also dedicated time outside of work to various organizations, including the Boy Scouts and a group which repairs homes of the elderly.

2015 Elementary Awardee

Officer Carla Anderson:  Arrowhead Elementary School & Indian Bend Elementary School

Officer Anderson has been instrumental at both Arrowhead and Indian Bend Elementary Schools. At Arrowhead, she stared a new program, the Kindness Patrol, encouraging students to take leadership roles seriously. At Indian Bend, Officer Anderson supports the Kids at Hope belief by working with the social worker to help mentor students and encourage a path to success. Officer Anderson helps to create an environment conducive to learning at school and has been a positive role model to students both through work and through her personal missions to improve conditions in Haiti.


2015 Middle School Awardee

Officer Rex Peterson:  Sonoran Trails Middle School

Officer Peterson has taught approximately 250 hours of LRE so far this year, often covering controversial issues that are interesting and relevant to students. He teaches information in a realistic manner to help students to make important and informed decisions. He is visible on campus daily, talking with students and teachers regularly to build relationships and trust. Students look up to him as a role model and both teachers and students feel safe asking him questions and expressing their opinions.


2015 High School Awardee

Officer David Woodard:  Basha High School

Officer Woodard has been an SRO for almost 30 years, the last ten of which have been spent at Basha. In addition to required LRE, Officer Woodard teaches Police Science, a class designed for students interested in pursuing law enforcement careers. He organized a field trip for student to the Chandler City Courthouse and even helped to purchase student lunches with his own money. He has taught 255 hours of LRE so far this year and will continue to add to that number throughout the year. Officer Woodard also dedicates a significant amount of time to activities outside of school, including volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club and building houses for orphans in Uganda.


2014 Award

Det. Larry Baggs
Connolly Middle School

Det. Baggs provides a positive and professional example of a law enforcement officer to staff, students and parents. He provides outstanding law related education and reaches target goals set forth in teaching (LRE). He has established a relationship with students and uses multiple opportunities to effectively promote the goals of the School Safety Program.

He collaborates with classroom teachers to integrate law-related education into their curriculum and promote a safe learning environment and good citizenship. He is utilized as a (LRE) faculty expert and has instructed LRE Academies. Det. Baggs collaborates on the school’s Court Works program that teaches 60 students each year. The students receive training in Constitutional Law and Criminal Procedure. This past year, one of the judges told our students that they were among the best she had ever seen because they went off script in their mock trial and introduced their own original legal reasoning. They could not have attained this extremely high level of legal reasoning and writing without the exceptional guidance they received from Det. Baggs.

Larry has given his amazing energy and talent to the students and staff of Connolly Middle School. As a teacher, Officer Baggs was one of six SRO’s in the state that was awarded the opportunity to pilot the Diversity Pipeline program started by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education. As a result of this program my students were able to develop an understanding of various legal concepts.

2013 Award

Officer Brandon McCombs
Sierra Linda High School

  • Dedicated to making campus and community safe
  • Accompanies school social worker when giving support to troubled students and families
  • Started after school criminal justice club
  • Leads activities for students to gain a better understanding of working as a police officer
  • Helped set up a program to assist our families and members of the community in a presentation on the new immigration laws and road to citizenship
  • Set up a workshop for all of the security guards in the district to update them on the new gangs and drugs that as a school they should be looking out for
  • &Integral part of my government class"
  • Provides practical law enforcement perspective on legal issues that young adults often face
  • Vital component of Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project – attends weekly lessons/lectures an fields questions from student and law students from Phoenix School of Law

2012 Award

Isaac Easley
Tolleson Union High School

Tolleson Police Officer Isaac Easley was hired by the Tolleson Police Department in February of 2003 to fill a much needed full-time School Resource Officer position at the Tolleson Union High School. Walking into a challenging environment, Officer Easley began the difficult task of creating and coordinating a curriculum to help out the students. He researched and sought out training that would enhance his goals and objectives at the high school, all while creating lasting relationships with the students. Officer Easley has dedicated over 210 hours per year to Law Related Education training—only 180 is required. After all this, he has successfully helped to develop a program that has made a difference in the lives of his students.

His involvement has led to a reduction in police calls for service. The impact he has had on the school, the students and the community is immeasurable, invaluable, and will be felt for many years to come.

2011 Award

Officer Brandon Clark
Show Low High School

In Officer Clarks' three years with Show Low High School, he has consistently gone above and beyond. He immediately started enrolling in numerous trainings to gather as much information and curriculum to bring back to the students. He brought in community resources like the Arizona National Guard to help educate kids about the law and perils of alcohol and drug abuse. Since his tenure with the high school began, the number of student incidents with drugs and alcohol among ninth grade class has been significantly reduced.

Besides his classroom presentations and lessons, Officer Clark runs the high school teen court and peer panel. He donates hours of service to assist in training students to be attorneys and workers in the teen court. Officer Brandon Clark also wrote a grant to receive curriculum to educate youth about web safety.

Officer Clark has taught two hundred 6th graders, four hundred 7th and 8th graders, and two hundred 9th graders. He is effective because understands and knows how to communicate with each student, is knowledgeable on the lesson content and is a reliable source for information regarding the LRE program.

2010 Award

Augustine Sauceda
Cactus Middle School
Casa Grande, AZ

Augustine is a great model for the students of Cactus, and has the unique ability to
communicate in a positive way with students of all races and backgrounds. His crowning
accomplishment was the formation of the mock trial team which started as an after school
activity. At the first competition at the Pinal County Mock Trial, the team placed first. He has
continued to work together and was able to move the program from after school to a school
time elective, and has a long list of students that want to participate in the class due to Mr.
Sauceda reputation.

2009 Award

Melissa McCormick
Rincon High School
Phoenix, AZ

Officer McCormick provides interesting, active and relevant instruction of LRE lessons to students in a variety of classroom settings. She works diligently with teachers to develop meaningful curriculum that is appropriate to the academic objectives. She teaches a variety of topics including student rights, DUI laws, American government, world history and science – always endeavoring to exceed any possible expectations.

Officer McCormick has created several unique programs as well. She had a workshop with the psychology teacher that taught students about how preconceived beliefs could separate the campus and prohibit unity among the student body.

2008 Award

Gary Douglas
Officer Douglas continually implements balanced LRE lessons that incorporate community resource people, real world lessons, hands on learning, and use problem solving skills. Officer Douglas can be seen doing everything from talking with a grade school student about a scrapped knee to facilitating high school youth leaders. He continually goes above and beyond what is expected of him. The teachers he works with consider him one of the finest SRO teachers they have seen.

Officer Douglas also facilitates the schools multi-disciplinary team, guides the San Pedro Family Resource Council (a local non-profit), volunteers for the CCJCS Drug Court program, as well as participating and coordinating many other programs.

2007 Award

Alan Ienn
Officer Ienn has been the SRO at Centennial Middle School for the past five years. He has been a positive role model for students, developing relationships by his presence in the classroom, lunchroom and after school activities. He has dedicated himself to helping the students become responsible citizens while instilling respect for law enforcement. Whenever there is a volunteer activity, he graciously donates his time and energy. In addition to using best practices teaching strategies while integrating LRE curriculum into the social studies classrooms, he has been integral in bring numerous valuable programs to Centennial Middle School. His enthusiasm and professional knowledge has been the driving force behind the student's motivation and ultimate success at the State Forensic Science Competition.

2006 Award

Jeanette Brambila
Jeanette Brambila is a juvenile probation officers assigned to Prescott High School. She has been involved with the Teen Court Programs in both the Verde Valley and the Prescott area since 1995 and had been the director of the Prescott Teen Court for the past seven years. She is currently assigned to the high school and two middle schools in the Prescott area. In addition to running their local Teen Court Program, she also teaches "We the People", an advanced government class focusing on the in-depth study, interpretation, and debate of the U.S. Constitution, and "Street Law", an alternative government class which focuses on the construction, administration, and enforcement of laws in the United States.

2005 Award

Andrew Wood
Andrew Wood is the School Safety Juvenile Probation Officer assigned to Westwood High School in the Mesa Unified School District. Drew regularly incorporates the use of Community Resource Persons in his lessons exceeding the expectations of best practices. Drew also capitalizes on the talent of the classroom teachers, not just by including them in the lessons, but by bringing out the teachers' own interest in the topic and their recognition of the value of the lesson to their students. As a result, the teachers continue to reflect and build on the LRE lessons long after Drew has left the classroom. While the School Safety Program requirement is to teach 90 LRE hours per semester, 180 hours per school year, Drew taught 305.25 LRE hours during the 2004-2005 school year! Drew implemented the Community Works Program at Westwood High School which is designed to reduce teen victimization and involve young adults in service to their community. Approximately 225 students actively participated in this program and many different classrooms were involved in the development of Community Action Projects and in the Community Works competition. The impact of the Community Works Action Projects didn't just reach the entire student body at Westwood High School, but the neighborhood Elementary & Jr. High School campuses as well.

2004 Award

David Franquero
David Franquero, Juvenile Probation Officer, has been the School Safety Officer in the Globe Unified School District for the past three years, where he has been teaching law-related education to middle school students and implementing many programs sponsored by the Foundation.