This past Thursday, April 2nd, was a bittersweet day for the Gilbert Police Department as we said farewell to retired Lieutenant Joe Ruet. When I think of Joe, there are several things that come to mind: integrity, loyalty, dedication, compassion, faith, and sense of humor. Joe is a selfless man who has dedicated much of his life to service. He is a man of faith who has compassion for victims and those in need, often reaching into his own pocket to lend a helping hand. Joe was also a street cop with a bulldog’s tenacity for finding suspects and a huge catalog of career criminals etched into his memory. I will miss Joe as a member of this great organization. I don’t think I can say the same for the smell of sardines that often wafted from his doorway. I wish Joe and his family great happiness in his well-deserved retirement.
The retirement of Lt. Ruet opens two promotional opportunities. With that, we congratulate new promoted Lieutenant Brian Blunt and Sergeant Jason Roman. We look forward to the great things they will bring to their new positions.
The lone gunman shooting spree on March 18, in Mesa was a textbook example of teamwork and partnerships between our neighboring communities. As soon as we overheard the radio traffic, one shooting suspect, multiple victims at multiple scenes, we contacted the Mesa Police Department to offer our assistance and stand ready should we be needed. We were able to help their agency by taking priority calls occurring near where our cities meet and once the suspect was contained in an apartment complex, our SWAT team deployed to assist with door to door searches. The suspect was eventually caught and taken into custody without incident by Mesa’s SWAT unit. I was extremely proud to see our officers and officers from neighboring agencies working as a unified team to locate an extremely violent suspect and bring this violent rampage to a successful end.
In December, President Obama signed an executive order forming the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. This task force was formed to examine how to strengthen public trust and foster strong relationships between local law enforcement and the communities they serve. In March, they released their findings along with many recommendations that reach all levels of the criminal justice system, from the local police department through the federal government. The recommendations touch on a vast spectrum of topics including use of force, policy development, staffing, and development of 21st century technology, just to name a few.
One recommendation of note is the formation of a criminal justice commission that would conduct a review of the entire criminal justice system. This is something the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has been a proponent of for several years. One other recommendation has to do with the idea of procedural justice. The report recommends that police agencies adhere to the practices of procedural justice to maintain legitimacy with the public they serve. Procedural justice in a law enforcement setting can be summed up with four basic actions: 1) Treat people with respect; 2) Listen to what they have to say; 3) Make fair decisions; and 4) Explain your actions.
This is a concept that we, in the Gilbert Police Department, have adhered to for some time. Our department philosophy stresses the importance, and expectation, of treating people with dignity and respect; using data to deploy resources and to address community concerns; using enforcement to reduce collisions and to detect and deter criminal activity; transparency; and sustaining open lines of communication with the public we serve.
While we stress the importance of officers making citizen contacts, we do not place an emphasis on writing citations. The issuance of a warning can often make a longer lasting, positive impression on a driver while still allowing us to carry out the missions of traffic enforcement. Data collected from these contacts is used to direct enforcement activities to reduce crime and collisions as well as aid in identifying individuals involved in criminal activities.
If we continue to abide by our philosophy, we will cultivate our culture of fairness which enhances the trust our citizens have in us and support the high satisfaction they have with the services we provide. Trust and satisfaction only serve to enhance our partnership with the community we serve.
Keep up the good work, stay safe, and thank you for what you do to keep our community safe.