Log in


Boyle: Remarks on Mesa police SWAT anniversary


Many years ago, I was a detective with the Mesa Police Department working sex crimes cases. It was tough but important work, a daily test of our resolve to pursue justice for victims of violence and prevent future crime by taking the worst in our community off the streets. It is a unit that takes a heavy emotional toll, with individual cases requiring hundreds of hours of preparation, investigation, interviews, knowing that an unfortunate number of survivors of violent crime will not see justice for what they’d endured.

I knew that I wanted to balance that work by becoming part of the Mesa SWAT Team. I saw the team as the best of the best, a highly trained, physically challenging unit often called upon to handle crises across the valley because of its reputation for tactical prowess. Special Weapons and Tactics embodied what drew me to a career in law enforcement: high stakes, life or death moments that test your core, your character, your courage, and give you the opportunity to truly protect and serve.

My years on Mesa SWAT were among the most fulfilling of my life. As we met this week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the unit, I had the opportunity to reconnect with peers and meet the next generation of heroes. The brotherhood, so many years, was still intact. I think I was hugged more in a few hours than I was when I was a baby passed around by my parents.

I feel profoundly grateful to have had these experiences and lived to remember them. I don’t often talk about my years in law enforcement, the memories are fraught with complex emotions. But this special occasion reminded me of the pride I felt, then and now, about my service to the community, and specifically my work with this team. Each time we’d suit up and make an entry, I learned what it means to truly trust each other, and trust in our training. We experienced so much together, successes and losses. Like many other retired public servants, I often think of it as another life, or another me. I realize now that that’s not accurate.

Those years are a core piece of who I am today and every day, as a husband, a father, and as CEO of Tequila Corrido. I had forgotten (or put away) so many memories since my retirement, until this group of extraordinary people reminded me of what we had done, and the very special fraternity I am honored to be a part of.

Many people outside of law enforcement don’t know where retired cops fit in after we hang up our uniforms, and we often feel the same. The truth is, we have proven we can do anything- bringing bravery, strategy, leadership, and a deep understanding of human nature into any work we do. We should seek-and give- opportunities to stretch and apply those strengths in new ways after retirement from public safety. In business we need those strategic thinkers who can bring calm to chaos, bringing balance to others who might respond to every hiccup as if it’s a life-or-death situation. Gaining perspective from someone who has navigated actual life-or-death situations is a powerful asset to any industry or organization.

To the next generation who I just met - you look stronger and more capable than I could ever imagine possible. Take the torch and run! We paved the way, but you are more equipped and capable than we ever were. Stay safe.

Of course, a police reunion can’t be it all hugs. We love to give each other a hard time. A big laugh was had, reminding me of the time as a rookie I dropped a flashbang, rather than throwing it, sending pebbles flying into the face of my team leaders. It wasn’t good. The takeaway: we all make mistakes and fail in a single moment. Own up to it, learn from it, and use the experience gained to build the future you. Eventually, it’ll be something to laugh about…eventually.

Tequila Corrido is a tequila made of mature Blue Weber agave in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. Go to ilovetequilacorrido.com.