By David McGill, Police Chief
Sedona AZ (August 26, 2018) – Over the past several weeks, despite the distraction of my decision to apply to another agency, your police department has continued to provide outstanding service to our community. Although my time here in Sedona will be shorter than anyone expected, including me, I am proud of how much our Police Department has accomplished in the past 19 months. Here’s a snapshot of a few successes we have enjoyed.
Our team has elevated their professionalism to a level not seen in our history, and we have re-established our reputation of being an outstanding law enforcement agency. During this time, we have retained nearly all our original staff, having not lost any sworn police officers to other agencies. Our Dispatch unit is now fully staffed as well.
We have changed our police uniform standards so that all our officers are dressed alike and appear sharp and ready for business, without expending city funds. Our take-home vehicle program is now fully integrated, and officers have made contacts and arrests while traveling to and from the city. We have implemented our new Computer-Aided Dispatch and automated Records Management system, which is now starting to produce real-time crime data, and we will soon unveil a public portal for the community to see this crime picture as well. We have worked with our city colleagues to deploy the Nixle alert system, giving the public real-time information about critical incidents to keep them safe and avoid traffic jams.
We purchased five new police bicycles and trained bike officers with a grant, providing another platform from which to patrol the Uptown area and trails. We purchased new ballistic helmets for our SWAT element members and ballistic shields for field personnel, also using grant funding. We entered into an agreement with the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office to provide initial emergency police services to Oak Creek Canyon residents, reducing police response times during critical incidents in that area. We have re-deployed a School Resource Officer and we continue to work with the school district to find funding to offset the cost.
We initiated the city’s first ever Hispanic Outreach program to provide the community with important information regarding our position on immigration and community policing efforts. We have conducted several homeless/transient outreach operations with the compassionate goal of providing help to those in need while holding them accountable for illegal activities.
We have mandated every officer complete Critical Incident Training, which provides valuable tools to our officers to be better equipped to handle drug impaired or mentally challenged individuals, and we have continued our training for ever-present human trafficking issues. We have equipped and trained all officers in the proper use of the anti-opioid drug Narcan to be better prepared to save potential overdose victims. And we also recently purchased and deployed 10 automatic external defibrillators for our field personnel so they have the right equipment to save cardiac arrest victims.
Our personnel have given back to the community they serve by supporting the Special Olympics of Arizona and the Bigs in Blue program operated by the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. We participate in the Pink Patch program to support cancer research, and the MoVember event allows our male officers to grow facial hair if they donate to the 100 Club of Arizona, which supports families of fallen law enforcement officers throughout the state.
Your police department is second to none in providing the best safety and public service for our residents and visitors, and it has been an honor to lead our sworn officers, civilian support staff and volunteers.
Thank you for allowing me to serve this organization and community. I am forever grateful.