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Wed, Oct. 16

Commentary: Community committee brings public into the process

Camp Verde Marshal Corey Rowley, shown here at a “Coffee with a Cop” event, recent approached Cheri Wischmeyer, the writer of this commentary, about helping start a citizens’ committee that gives committee members a more firsthand look at what the Marshal’s Office is all about. VVN file photo

Camp Verde Marshal Corey Rowley, shown here at a “Coffee with a Cop” event, recent approached Cheri Wischmeyer, the writer of this commentary, about helping start a citizens’ committee that gives committee members a more firsthand look at what the Marshal’s Office is all about. VVN file photo

I have always been interested in improving relations between local law enforcement and the community.

I see the Camp Verde Marshal’s community committee as not only an opportunity to improve those relationships, but also to allow the community and the Marshal’s Office to form a partnership in protecting our town.

I was approached by Marshal Corey Rowley with a vision of allowing local residents the opportunity to see firsthand what CVMO was all about. This excited me, because as you know, there is often a stigma in our world today about law enforcement.

I feel that frequently that stigma is related to what is perceived as personal agendas, when officers are simply trying to protect and serve with limited information.

Most committees are formed after there is a crisis within the department; to be big brother and to be sure our law enforcement is behaving. The Marshal’s vision was much bigger than that. It was to bring the public into the process and allow them to have a positive impact on both the department and the community; to allow them to know and understand the whys of police actions versus fearing the unknown.

To be clear, if this committee was about oversight and interference, I would have wanted no part of it.

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Cheri Wischmeyer

I envision this committee as an opportunity for individuals to come together and see what happens and why. They will also be afforded the opportunity to have input into policies that will help make the Marshal’s Office even better.

The meetings will be open to the public, and I hope that citizens will be encouraged to come to the committee meetings and share their concerns or suggestions.

It isn’t about being "big brother" over the Marshal’s Office. It is about being a partner in making Camp Verde a safer place to live and raise our children.

As you know, CVMO is attempting to acquire a prestigious certification, an accreditation. This committee will be a big part of that process as they discuss the department’s inner workings and provide their input and suggestions.

My years of experience in management, human resources, and law enforcement will allow me to see a bigger picture, and hopefully with everyone’s help, we will allow the public to feel more comfortable coming forward with information and concerns that will reduce crime in our community and better understand the workings of our law enforcement community.

I believe that we fear the unknown, and by throwing the doors open and welcoming everyone in, we give them knowledge and reduce those fears. The public is a huge part of crime-fighting – they are the eyes and the ears of the community and their information is a huge part of making the community a safer place. I believe that is what everyone wants – a safe place to live and raise our families.

That is my goal, a place where the public and law enforcement work together to make Camp Verde the best place in the world to live.

Cheri Wischmeyer is a Camp Verde resident and coordinator of the Camp Verde Marshal’s Office’s first community committee.

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