Scott Urkov is a municipal police officer for the small town of Coolidge, Ariz., a bedroom community in rural Pinal County that’s roughly midway between Phoenix and Tucson on Interstate 10. His daughter attends Entz Elementary School in the huge Phoenix suburb of Mesa. Urkov does a lot of driving and, like many people living in the car culture of Southern Arizona, his schedule can be pretty tight.
But now he has to decide whether he’ll carve out a little extra time before picking up his daughter from school to comply with a bizarre request from school administrators. The essence of that request is: “Don’t wear your uniform or bring your service weapon when you come; you’re scaring us.”
Urkov received a phone call from school officials after someone saw him drop his daughter off at school while wearing his uniform, according to KSAZ-TV. The school asked him to stop showing up looking like a cop.
That didn’t sit well with Urkov, who took to Facebook to vent his frustration.
“Nothing like your kids school calling and asking if I could not come to pick up my daughter in uniform cause parents were concerned when their kids came home telling them there was a man at school with a gun,” he wrote. “Are you freaking kidding me?”
A spokesperson for the Mesa Unified School District told a reporter that “some parents” had voiced concern to the principal after seeing a uniformed and armed officer on campus.
Predictably, the publicity has favored Urkov instead of the school. Just look through the recent posts visitors have been leaving on the school system’s Facebook page.
The district’s idea of damage control is to turn their blunder into a “teachable moment” — not for school officials and terrified parents (if there really are any), but for students. The school hopes to invite Urkov to come to speak to students in a special assembly about what police officers do for the community.
That could open a whole other can of worms, but that’s also another story.
The Coolidge Police Department has reportedly advised Urkov not to comment further.