My heartfelt thanks to everyone who was involved in the recent events we held to support Special Olympics Arizona. Things kicked off with the Rock ‘n Run at the Riparian event. The Run was a huge success and served as a wonderful opportunity to honor C.J. Udall. I was very pleased to see the increase in participation for the annual torch run this year. Unfortunately, due to a last minute conflict, I had to cancel my participation; I certainly missed joining in on this great event. Gilbert P.D. was well represented at the final leg of the run and at the opening ceremonies for the summer games at Grand Canyon University this year. Everyone’s support of the cause and the hard work involved therein landed Gilbert P.D. on the top ten fundraising Arizona law enforcement agencies list. The hard work of the Crime Prevention Unit (Kim Kelly, Mary Jo Kuzmick, and Vickie Owen) and the organizers of the Five-O Car Show made this possible.
The Town of Gilbert was named the third safest city in the United States by Movoto, a national real estate and business publication. The list was compiled by comparing 2013 Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data for Arizona communities with a population greater than 100,000 showed once again that Gilbert had the lowest overall crime rate, the lowest violent crime rate, and the lowest property crime rate. Rankings such as these help us attain our vision as a community where people feel safe in their homes, in public places and on our roadways. A key to our success is maintaining the trust and partnership with our citizens and remaining proactive, rather than reactive, in our tactics and strategies. The primary focus of our efforts must continue to lay in the prevention of crime through public education and awareness, identifying and maintaining accountability on the small number of people who are responsible for a significant quantity of crime, and the analysis of data and information to direct patrol activities in order to detect and deter crime. We must also focus our traffic enforcement efforts on reversing the increasing number of traffic collisions occurring in the town. Traffic enforcement should also be continue to be used as a means to identify persons involved in criminal activity, as criminals use vehicles in the commission of their crimes.
I recently re-published my department philosophy, which included revisions to our intelligence-led policing program. If you have not yet had a chance to review it, I would encourage you to do so; it is on our web page at: http://gilbertaz.gov/departments/police/about-us.
I also recently distributed an article from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) on “Procedural Justice.” Procedural justice is a means to obtaining police legitimacy. Legitimacy reflects the belief that the police must exercise their authority to maintain social order, manage conflicts and solve problems. Legitimacy is obtained through trust and confidence in the police, the willingness of the public to defer to the law and to police authority, and the belief that police actions are morally justified and appropriate to the circumstances.
The principals of procedural justice reflect many of the key components of my department philosophy. People want to feel like the police are listening and that we care. This involves demonstrating active listening, and demonstrating compassion. People want the police to be impartial and base their decisions on facts, evidence and legal principals. People want to be treated with dignity and respect. Based on our legal authority, it becomes easy for us to give orders rather than to seek voluntary compliance. In most non-violent encounters with the public, I would encourage officers to follow the principals of “Ask, Tell, Make.” Start by asking people to do things rather than telling them to do things. If compliance cannot be obtained by asking, then move to telling them what to do, as long as you have the legal authority to order someone to do something. You must then be prepared to make them comply with a lawful order, if voluntary compliance cannot be attained. In most cases, we can gain voluntary compliance and cooperation by treating people in a way we would want a member of our family treated.
Our profession is based on selfless service. It is our responsibility to conduct complete and thorough investigations, to conduct timely follow-up on our investigations, to solve problems before they escalate into serious matters, to demonstrate compassion and concern, and to treat every call for service with the same level of service that we would expect if we were the victim.
On April 30th, we remembered our fallen with a pride and honor run from Lieutenant Eric Shuhandler’s memorial marker to Officer Rob Targosz’s marker. Our annual memorial service, where we honor all public safety members past, present, and future, was held following the run. A special note of thanks to Detective Gary Kidder for spearheading the organization of the event. We owe it to our fallen to never forget their sacrifices and to carry on their legacy of selfless service to the community.
Be safe and thanks for what you do.