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Class 37 Reports on
March Class Days
Public Safety Day - Police
Our day began with SPD’s Chief Jeff Walther, who spoke to us in depth about the Department’s culture. Chief Walther, from Scottsdale Leadership’s Class 26, is the epitome of a true leader-the buck stops with him. There is nothing easy about overseeing law enforcement in Scottsdale, which now has a population of 260,000, comprised of 185 square miles, and has 12 million visitors a year, including 1.27 million for the Waste Management Phoenix Open alone! Chief Walther told us that unlike many police forces in the United States, SPD is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, the Gold Standard for Public Safety. Officers receive extensive training in crisis response, building community relationships, and have over 600 comprehensive and uniform written directives that clearly define authority, performance, and responsibilities. Transparency, accountability, and officers’ mental health are clear priorities for SPD’s police force under Chief Walther. Police officers should treat every member of the public with respect and dignity under Chief Walther’s tutelage. “We go on calls that a lot of Departments don’t.” We are so fortunate to have these amazing officers looking after us in this community.
We then got to “witness” a robbery, and see how witness accounts can so often differ. From there, we got to see firsthand some of the tools and equipment used by SWAT and the TECH team, including a very large bullet proof tank, explosives, robots, and some super cool drones. From there, we did some VIRTA training, and were given live scenarios, and had to decide whether to shoot the perpetrator, or negotiate-so nerve racking! The difficult decisions that our officers face every day was truly evident. Our day ended with Assistant Chief Joe LeDuc (Class 32) who led a frank discussion about the challenges that officers face today, and public perception. He told us, “Nothing makes a good cop more angry than a bad cop.” Chief LeDuc answered some very tough questions, and eloquently. He summed it up when he noted, “We are part of the community, not above it.”
Thank you again to Commander Chris Coffee and Lieutenant Alamshaw for planning the perfect day. We will never forget those who serve and put their lives on the line for us every day.