As I complete my 16th year as Oro Valley’s Police Chief, I find myself reflecting on what my legacy has been as a police officer for over 37 years. I continuously come back to one thought — protecting and serving those who serve and protect. I want to explain what that means and the importance of that statement.
Police officers are required to make quick decisions that may affect their lives and many others. I serve and protect those who serve and protect in many ways. This is done by supporting police officers in the trainings they attend, verbalizing my support and it entails encouraging the community’s support in its law enforcement. Community support is demonstrated in several ways.
For example, the Law Enforcement Wives Club is a local group that supports local law enforcement during times of need.
LEWC comprises a group of law enforcement spouses from departments across Pima County. The mission of LEWC is to “enhance the lives of law enforcement personnel and their families throughout Pima County by providing emotional and tangible support during times of need.” LEWC has provided the Oro Valley Police Department families with financial assistance and moral support in times of illness, death and work-related events.
The 100 Club of Arizona is another group whose motto is to “stand behind the men and women who stand behind the badge.” They provide immediate financial support to public safety officers and firefighters who are injured or killed in the line of duty. They have assisted OVPD families when officers have passed away due to medical issues, and our officers also contribute to this club, supporting other officers and firefighters across Arizona.
In 2013, I encouraged all OVPD officers to attend Below 100 training. This program is about instilling and reinforcing safety in areas that individual supervisors and officers can make a difference by holding themselves accountable. “Below 100 means supporting a culture of safety throughout your department.” It raises awareness of the top reasons officers are killed in the line of duty. The five tenets encompassing this program are as follows: wear your belt, wear your vest, watch your speed, what’s important now and remember complacency kills. Providing this information through training and social media brings awareness and prevents line-of-duty deaths.
With the increase of law enforcement in the headlines, it is more important than ever to have a community and leaders who support local law enforcement. In the most recent advanced officer trainings, Deputy Chief Stevens and I attended every training to speak to every officer on the importance of their safety and the support they have.
I am committed to learning about new community support programs, training to implement new innovative ideas that assist officers with good decision making tactics and providing resources to keep them safe.
In addition, one of the most important elements to serving and protecting those who serve and protect is their community support. Oro Valley has always been supportive of its police department. During these difficult times for law enforcement, I want to personally thank the community for their years of support.
As we look ahead to 2016, I want the community to know I will continue to bring the latest training and resources to the Oro Valley Police Department. Programs such as LEWC, the 100 Club of Arizona and Below 100, save officers’ lives by educating them on staying safe and supporting them and their families in times of need. I will also pledge to the members of the Oro Valley Police Department that their community and leadership stands behind them.
Communities must work with their law enforcement as a team to provide the best services possible. At least once a week I hear from a member of the community about how great our members are during a call for service or a public assist. This is in addition to the countless letters and emails supervisors receive as well. I am grateful for the Oro Valley community and its continuing support of their police department.
I am truly honored to be Oro Valley’s Police Chief and to represent the town of Oro Valley. Have safe and happy holidays.