How do you recognize the accomplishments and contributions of an individual so closely tied to the heartbeat of a community? Plaques and pieces of paper are nice, but only go so far as to express feelings of gratitude onto that special person.
Well, what about naming a building after them?
That’s exactly what the Oro Valley Town Council did last Wednesday night when its seven members unanimously approved dedicating the soon-to-open police substation and evidence facility on West Magee Road after longtime chief of police Daniel Sharp. The town will cut the ribbon on the new building, located at 500 W. Magee Road, next month.
Sharp joined OVPD in 2000 after serving as assistant chief for the Tucson Police Department, and celebrated four decades in law enforcement last year. Sharp has been (rightly) credited with a great deal of the department’s success in the last 19 years, as well as the safe environment loved by so many town residents.
Sharp has pushed for the development of a new substation for years. The first floor of the new building will house offices for the department training coordinator, K9 unit and community action team, and will serve as a place where residents can file paperwork, instead of driving to the main station at 11000 N. La Cañada Drive. The second floor will be dedicated to personnel and housing property evidence.
At the June 19 meeting, Oro Valley Mayor Joe Winfield said he was honored to name the new facility after Sharp.
“There’s a genuine respect, regard and appreciation for you, and for those that serve under you,” Winfield said. “You’ve certainly shown your commitment to every community member. Both the senior members and children.”
While credit for OVPD’s strong reputation is obviously due to every officer, volunteer and staff member that works within the department, success begins at the top, and earning the title of Arizona’s “Safest City” year after year takes concerted effort headed by strong leadership.
That strong leadership has resulted in a community policing model that assures homeowners, drivers and businesses remain safe at all times of day, that allows teens to benefit from positive interactions with officers and that creates a sense of community unlike any other in Southern Arizona. And it all begins at the top.
Though Sharp will soon retire the badge and begin his next great journey in life, his legacy of service is sure to live on in the department through the countless officers, lieutenants, sergeants, commanders and more who benefited from his leadership over the last two decades.
And while he may be saying goodbye to the job, Sharp has long said he considers Oro Valley his home.
“I say often that I’m a lucky guy,” he said. “I’ve got a great bunch of folks that not only work within the department and volunteer, but the community and of course all of my colleagues here at the town. This is the best career move I could have ever made. I love it here. I love this community. I’m not going anywhere.”
He did make one request, though. Make sure to leave “Memorial” out of the name. He’s just not ready for that yet.