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Camp Verde deputies to use radars in school zones, Marshal says

Camp Verde Marshal Nancy Gardner answers questions at the monthly Coffee with a Cop in Camp Verde. (Photo by Bill Helm)

Camp Verde Marshal Nancy Gardner answers questions at the monthly Coffee with a Cop in Camp Verde. (Photo by Bill Helm)

CAMP VERDE – School starts Monday at Camp Verde Unified School District.

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Camp Verde residents David Lee and Richard Mell, from left, at the monthly Coffee with a Cop in Camp Verde. (Photo by Bill Helm)

But the Camp Verde Marshal’s Office has gone back to school a bit earlier, says Marshal Nancy Gardner.

Elementally speaking, CVMO has its collective radars out, and Gardner says that the technology will be in use to make sure deputies are keeping the streets safe both at and around town’s schools.

“We’re going to be doing some extra enforcement,” Marshal Gardner said Monday at the police department’s monthly Coffee with a Cop. “It’s 15 miles per hour in the school zones. No lee-way there in the school zone.”

Tongue slightly in cheek, Camp Verde resident Robert Mell asked if Marshal Gardner would have the radars set at 55 miles-per-hour “so I can check my speedometer.”

“My speedometer is optimistic,” Mell says. “I think most are.”

Held each month at Thanks a Latte, Coffee with a Cop is an opportunity for Camp Verde’s law enforcement agency to answer questions from the public and to engage in an informal setting.

Attending with Marshal Gardner was Tim Wiggle, with the department’s Volunteers in Policing program, known as VIP. Says Wiggle, radars “used to ignore speeding if it was less than 10 miles per hour.”

“Now they’ve got it so good that they pick it up at three miles per hour over,” Wiggle says.

Camp Verde roads

A Camp Verde resident for almost two years, Mell says he tries to make it out to the meeting each month.

Mell, a “non-degreed engineer,” and a few of the attendees discussed the new roundabout at SR 260 and Industrial Drive.

“I’m degreed, just not as an engineer” said Mell, who had lived in Ventura County, California before he and his wife relocated to the Verde Valley in November 2015. “When I see things, that’s how my mind works.”

Mell says he’d have designed the roundabout’s lanes “at least one-and-a-half times” bigger.

“There are people I see who stop in the roundabout,” Mell says.

Camp Verde resident David Lee was interested not only in the town’s new traffic circle, but also the roads in his Verde Lakes neighborhood.

“We’d like to see more of a [police] presence out there to keep people from speeding. You don’t need to be doing 35, 40 miles an hour in the neighborhoods,” says Lee. “Seeing 8-year-old kids out there on ATVs. An 8-year-old kid can’t get a license.”

In retirement

In July, Sgt. Oscar Berrelez retired from the Camp Verde Marshal’s Office after 21 years on the force.

Says Marshal Gardner, Sgt. Berrelez was a “great wealth of knowledge.”

“He knew our community and our citizens,” Gardner says. “It’s a loss for our department.”

Not finished with his work as a public servant, Berrelez, who worked up from deputy to sergeant, is now with the Yavapai College Police Department.

According to Gardner, Corp. Brandon Collins will test on Aug. 10 to become Berrelez’s replacement.

CVMO is also looking to fill two Animal Control/Code Enforcement officers, positions that Gardner says are as much education as enforcement.

“It’s a good opportunity to know the community,” Gardner says.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42

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