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No one saying why SRO was removed after finding drug needles at Phoenix school

Posted at 5:08 PM, Feb 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-13 19:08:50-05

PHOENIX — No one is speaking publicly on why an Arizona school resource officer was removed from his position at a Phoenix elementary school after trying to get dirty needles cleaned up.

Sources tell ABC15 that when Officer Jesse Martinez tried to bring attention to the drug needles found on campus, it was allegedly drawing bad publicity.

Martinez was a school resource officer for three years and was even featured in a promotional video by the Phoenix Police Department that showed the problem at Washington Elementary School in 2019.

A year later, Martinez helped organize another similar cleanup at the grounds of the campus but was removed from the school before the Super Saturday Cleanup.

Both officials with the police department and school district are refusing to answer why Officer Martinez was reassigned despite no investigation into his actions. The school district said the police department decided to reassign him.

And, a spokesperson for the police department would not comment on why.

Sources tell us that he was asked twice by the school's principal to remove photos on social media that showed the dirty needles. In a Facebook group for the cleanup, the photos appear to be gone.

"He should have still kept his job to protect our kids," said one parent.

At the community cleanup, the school's principal told ABC15 on camera that Martinez stepped down for personal reasons.

A spokesperson for the school district addressed the misinformation, "I think she misspoke," said Pam Horton.

Horton said any questions about Martinez's removal should be sent to the police department.

"The superintendent is aware of this issue and that is why we work with our city officials regularly to address them, how can we work together, so that all of us are safe," said Horton.

Parents say they want answers from the district's top leader.

"I protect my kids, so I would want them protected at school," they said.