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Ortega: Time to fully fund the Scottsdale Police


Scottsdale relies on 400 sworn police officers to protect and serve our city of 184 square miles. But ranks have thinned due to retirements and resignations to leave Scottsdale for law enforcement agencies in the Valley.

The Scottsdale Police Department is short 36 officers and recruitments are waning.

Having a competitive pay structure, rank classification assessment, performance criteria and predictable compensation for years of service have not been reevaluated for over 15 years. I fully support the Scottsdale Police sworn officer step pay resolution scheduled for City Council adoption.

Necessary step pay increases are vital to retain and recruit our police force.

Scottsdale Police are trusted by residents, visitors, businesses, schools and by the general public to respond in urgent needs, engage in de-escalation, interact with regional and federal agencies, and by their visibility, make us feel safe.

Scottsdale has high standards, and, the so called “Blue Line” should not be stretched thin.

Community policing begins early with “Rocket” at Chaparral High, and “Captain” at Coronado High. New K9 recruit “Copper” and Officer Steele, assigned at Mohave Middle School, stay attuned to possible conflicts and emotional trauma, and make friends at the same time. Fully-trained K9 teams follow regular routines to patrol malls, events and wherever their vigilance is required.

The Scottsdale Police Department is comprehensive and innovative, with the mounted police horse patrol, bike patrol, traffic “motors,” accredited forensic laboratory, family advocacy center, intervention patrol for the homeless, human exploitation and trafficking team, citizens’ police academy and numerous, effective community policing programs.

In Arizona, the Scottsdale Police Department was the first municipality (1994) to earn dual accreditation by the international Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and accredited by the state of Arizona, abiding by peace officer standards and training. Recently, Chief Jeff Walthers was named “Arizona’s Chief of the Year” by the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police.

To be clear, under my watch, the Scottsdale Police Department will always have the tools, training, and compensation so that they can perform their sworn duty. Most of all, know that city leadership will act to retain officers, attract recruits and build the reciprocal trust which is essential for public safety.