Thu, Nov. 21

EDITORIAL: Message from local police is simple: We are in this together

The relationship, or at least the perception of, between community and cops is sadly lacking in many parts of America.

We should count ourselves lucky here in the Verde Valley.

In both Cottonwood and Camp Verde, recent initiatives by those communities’ police departments has put the emphasis on community in the manner their departments operate.

Cottonwood recently launched a neighborhood policing program where individual officers are assigned to nine specific parts of town. The objective is to build relationships, get to know the neighborhood and its residents, and most importantly, make sure those residents know who their neighborhood officer is. It’s an ongoing process to help both police and residents to identify and respond to concerns, crime trends, issues and problems.

“Connectivity, among officers and agencies, and between police and the community, is a big key to public safety,” Cottonwood Commander Gareth Braxton-Johnson said. “If we’re consistent with a proactive approach, you’d be amazed how many problems we can spot before they even really materialize.”

Residents can find a page on the Cottonwood Police Dept. home page within, where an email button for each officer is located, along with a map. Email directly to neighborhood officers encourages citizens to be more direct and comfortable speaking to an officer who knows their street and area, but it also creates a digital record of concerns and communication.

Across the Verde Valley in Camp Verde, Marshal Corey Rowley has launched a different program that shares the same common denominator with Cottonwood in that it is connecting local police with residents.

Marshal Rowley’s community committee is comprised of six volunteer members. To date, their role has been to learn as much as they can about the personnel and operations of the marshal’s office and provide oversight to the initiatives being implemented by the department.

It’s an exercise in full transparency in that it allows an extra set of citizen eyes to be part of the policy process in Camp Verde.

And, as Committee Coordinator Cheri Wischmeyer explained, the role of the committee is a work in progress. The committee’s meetings are open to the public at 6 p.m. the first and third Tuesdays of each month in the training room of the Camp Verde Marshal’s Office.

In both Cottonwood and Camp Verde, our local police have extended a welcoming hand to allow you to be part of their process in keeping our communities among the safest and finest in Arizona.

Their message is simple. We are in this together.

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