Welcome to June! Last week, on June 4, we said good-bye to another long-term employee, Detective David Landgraf, to retirement. As with all those who retire from our department with honor, we do not say good-bye – they will always be a member of our extended family. We will be saying good-bye to two more employees in July, Crime Prevention Specialist Mary Jo Kuzmick and Policy and Inspections Compliance Louise Phillips.
Impending Personnel Vacancies: Prior to recruiting for the positions vacated in July, we will be revamping the duties to meet the growing needs of the department. The crime prevention technician will be retitled/repurposed to a new position called, “Public Affairs Technician.” This position will handle the maintenance of the department’s web page and the various social media platforms employed by the department (Facebook, Twitter). It will also be responsible for the department newsletter, and act as a liaison with the Town’s Office of Communications, media outlets, and community organizations. Recruitment for this position will be internal and external.
The policy and compliance coordinator will continue to maintain the general orders and directives and the department’s general inspection program. The general inspection program not only ensures compliance with established general orders but identifies processes for improvement within the department. Additionally, the position will be taking on the development of a procedures manual for the department. To be eligible for the position, a candidate must possess a bachelor’s degree, have experience in policy research and development, operation of an inspection program within a criminal justice agency, and experience in coordinating process improvement programs. Ideally, a candidate will have experience with CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies) and be certified, or have experience, in a process improvement program such as Lean Six Sigma. Recruitment for this position will also be internal and external.
Budget: The Town Council approved the Fiscal Year 2016 budget last week. The positions that we requested and that were approved are: one crime analyst, a child-sex crimes detective, a records redaction clerk, and a sergeant.
The crime analyst position will replace the crime suppression officer who is currently assigned to the Fusion Center. The CST officer will be redeployed as a property crimes detective. The records redaction clerk will take over the majority of the redaction tasks associated with the body worn cameras and police reports. This position will continue to be supported by Teleserve personnel as we continue the implementation of the BWC program.
Currently, we have two open positions in the School Resource program. These positions will be allocated to Patrol leaving us at status quo for staffing in SRO while still providing adequate coverage for all of the high schools and having two roving officers to cover the junior high and elementary schools.
We have successfully contracted with the Arizona Humane Society to conduct animal cruelty and neglect investigations and to respond to injured animals. Maricopa Animal Care and Control remains the primary enforcement agency for bite investigations, reports of stray dogs, and dog licensing.
Body Worn Camera Program: We have received the remaining body worn cameras and equipment. Cameras will be issued shortly after shift change in a wave roll-out, in the order listed below. Currently, the plan is to allow a minimum of two weeks between each wave to address any issues that arise.
• Graveyard Patrol Teams and Night Traffic
• Day Traffic, Crime Suppression, Civilian Patrol
• Swing Shift Patrol Teams
• Day shift Patrol Teams
Vehicle Collisions: Since January, we have seen an increase in traffic collisions within the Town; the increase in fatal and near fatal collisions is particularly concerning. Since January, 10 individuals have lost their lives due to collisions on Gilbert roadways; 10 families have lost their loved ones. In all of 2014, we had seven lives lost. While our numbers are low compared to similar communities, this is still a significant concern. We all know that collisions are caused by a number of factors, not the least of which are impairment, speed, distracted drivers, and not using seat belts. In an effort to bring this issue to the forefront, we have launched a community awareness program called “Speed Down – Eyes Up – Drive Safely.” The campaign focuses on education combined with enforcement. Traffic and special enforcement units will be conducting directed enforcement activities in areas with higher volumes of collision; visibility is a proven detractor of traffic law violations. We will also be using social media to promote the ideals of obeying traffic laws and avoiding distractions while behind the wheel. We will also be emphasizing the use of seat belts and the dangers of driving impaired. None of this should be construed as a mandate for officers to write more tickets. They should be issued when it is appropriate, but it is just as, if not more, important to correct driving behavior. One vital element that will contribute to the success of this campaign, is taking the time to explain to drivers why they were stopped – having a better understanding of their behavior will help a driver correct their behavior long term. This is an issue that must involve the public as it is not something we can manage on our own.
As always, thank you for your efforts to keep this great community safe. Always remember our core values: Courage, Honor, Integrity, and Professionalism; and the importance of treating people with dignity and respect while protecting yourself and others.