More In front of dozens of their fellow officers, family and friends, four members of the Oro Valley Police Department took the next step in their individual careers, receiving promotions from Police Chief Daniel Sharp during a congratulatory event last Monday, Feb. 27 at the Oro Valley Church of the Nazarene.
The recipients of new rank were now Sgt. Mike Gracie, Lt. Matt Horetski, Commander Kara Riley and the department’s new Deputy Chief, Aaron LeSuer.
“I always thank the people that are willing to put themselves out there and move up in the organization to take on the additional responsibilities that go along with that,” Sharp said. “It’s a huge responsibility when you move up in rank, for those of you who have or hold rank. You know what that means—and what it means to the organizations. Taking on that additional responsibility, being willing to put yourself out there to better the organization is key. The future of the organization lies with these individuals and others who follow them.”
Gracie, whose new assignment is the patrol bureau, has been with the department since 2008, previously working both for the Tucson Airport Authority and the Pima County Superior Court. Gracie thanked his family, wife, children and fellow officers for the support shown to him through his career, which included a stint with SWAT. Gracie said working with SWAT officers is to “walk amongst giants, and I learn something from you all every day.”
A veteran of the United States Army, Horetski is one of four brothers who have been under the employ of the department, two other Horetskis still wearing the badge alongside him. He joined with the department in 2000, and has since been a patrol and motor officer, patrol and traffic unit sergeant, as wel
as a sergeant in the office of professional standards. Horetski, who has been assigned to special operations, also thanked those who have helped him through the years, both personally and professionally.
“It was a long process and a lot of hours away from the house, but my wife, my boys and my daughter have been very supportive through the whole process, and I am very grateful for that,” he said. “My success has come from just being around a great group of people. The Oro Valley Police Department really is a great organization, and my success comes from the people who work with me.”
Formerly a lieutenant for the department, Riley has worn the OVPD badge since 2004 and has experience as an executive officer, patrol lieutenant and as a police officer. Before joining Oro Valley, Riley’s service record includes the Tucson Airport Authority, Pima Community College, Pima County Jail and Pima County Juvenile Court. In her new role, Riley will handle support services.
“I look forward to the future of the agency and what we’re going to do,” she said.
A member of the department for nearly as long as his predecessor Larry Stevens, LeSuer first joined the OVPD in 1988, and has served in a wide variety of assignments with the agency to include support services commander and lieutenant, DARE, SRO and FTO sergeant and street level undercover officer, among several other roles.
As did the other officers, LeSuer thanked family, friends and coworkers who have helped in his professional journey, though he and Riley also took a moment to thank the town council, all seven members of which were in attendance.
“This is the best support from a council that I have seen in 29 years that I have worked here,” LeSuer said. “Through those years I have seen many councils come and go, with a whole bunch of different ideas; some were good and some weren’t so good. … I have had the opportunity to work with a awesome group of people throughout my career. I like to say that over the 29 years, I have a little bit of everybody in here, with the ideas that I like and we will move forward and implement those ideas.”
Shortly after receiving his promotion to deputy chief, LeSuer was then named the department’s interim chief, the position also held by his predecessor.
“Deputy Chief LeSuer has supervised and managed all aspects of the OVPD,” Sharp said in the press release announcing the move. “He is extremely knowledgeable and is an asset to this agency and to our community.”