As we continue to find a sense of normalcy in our day-to-day lives and work to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19, it has become increasingly apparent we are facing several issues in America: one of our physical health and one of social justice. During times like these, in the wake of the George Floyd murder and civil unrest, it is important that we look inwards to reflect, identify our strengths, and evaluate areas where we can continuously improve our services and interactions with the public.
The Town of Marana has fortunately benefited from a strong community connection between our residents and our police officers that make an event like Mr. Floyd’s murder seem far away. However, that does not mean it doesn’t affect members of our community, and it is important to acknowledge its impacts so we may heal and continue to grow together.
The Town of Marana strives to perform above and beyond the call of duty and to uphold the best quality of life possible for all of our residents, businesses and visitors. Whether it’s a pothole, a code violation or a public safety concern, we respond in a timely and respectful manner, and we are proud to say that the issues present in the spotlighted communities are not a reflection of the community we strive to be because of the organizational values of dedicated service, engaged innovation, teamwork, and respect that embody town employees.
The officers involved with Mr. Floyd’s murder do not represent the noble profession our officers have dedicated their lives to, and there is not a shred of doubt in our minds that if a Marana police officer had responded to the call, Mr. Floyd would still be alive today. Over the last few weeks, we have received letters, emails and phone calls of support from the public. To us, this is a testament of our wonderful community. It confirms that we are privileged to serve and protect the Town of Marana. Our officers work very hard to provide unparalleled police services to every person in the Town of Marana and to conduct themselves with uncompromised integrity. We work hard to build your trust.
Knowing that we have your trust, however, does not mean we can’t do better. Our compassion and empathy lead us now as we continue to nurture our relationships, examine our practices, and identify ways to affect meaningful change so that we can hopefully never be surprised by acts of malice in our own community, whether at the hands of authority or at the hands of each other, intentional or unintentional.
We will do this by continuously evaluating our recruitment process. Hiring great people equates to a great organization. The Marana Police Department will align all background investigations under the Office of Professional Standards, and has established the Background Investigations Team to elevate our selection of candidates to an even higher level. Community members will also be added to the oral board interview and the Police Chief interview in order to gain perspective, increase transparency and include citizen input.
The Town of Marana is driven by our four cultural values: dedicated service, engaged innovation, teamwork and respect. While all four are relevant at all times, these days require us to add increased focus on the value of respect. This means recognizing our differences, sharing our joys and challenges, and learning from each other so that we can commit to a future where everyone experiences respect and fair treatment intended for all people.
Jamsheed Mehta is the Marana Town Manager. Terry Rozema is the Marana Police Chief.