WEEK 9: Politics in Policing

Toby C -

Hi everyone!

As I mentioned last week, I spent the majority of this week out of town for a college visit. However, I did begin shadowing some of the department heads in the local government of Prescott Valley, starting with Police Chief Bob Ticer.

In addition to giving me a tour of the police station, I was also able to pick his brain about some of the challenges and trends that he’s seen in policing for the past few years. As we’ve all seen in the media, policing has become a rather political issue, with some of the staff I spoke to saying that they’ve seen increasingly aggressive attacks in the online space; however, Chief Ticer actually shared that PVPD has enjoyed an extremely healthy relationship with the community, and that Arizona is doing fairly well when it comes to having Democrats and Republicans work together on policing issues.

In a bureaucracy as structured as a police department, Chief Ticer also told me how he stays in touch with the rest of the department by always making himself accessible to his office and attending all City Council Study Sessions, which isn’t always a common practice for police chiefs. Apart from providing security at these meetings, this is how he makes himself accessible to the general population.

As he explained how the police department comprises the largest portion of the city’s budget, something that stood out to me was how much local government is forced to pay for leasing services, including cloud storage for body cam footage. Because body cams are on-demand, they are able to retrieve footage from 60 seconds prior to when the recording starts (but not audio), and when even footage from a traffic stop is kept up to half a year in the servers, it gets really expensive. When I attended the Prescott City Council meeting a few weeks ago, one of the items on the agenda was approving a budget of $601,254.43 for Microsoft 365 software. The fact that we’re paying six figures for Office and cloud space was a little shocking to me, and is one of the sad realities of budgeting for the government.

In the interest of preserving anonymity, I refrained from taking any pictures while I was at the station, but it was still an extremely meaningful experience.

This past Sunday, we also concluded our GYC webinar series. We had wonderful speakers from the Arizona Department of Education and an NAU CTE student educating us about trade school programs for high schoolers as well as college students. I had no idea the variety of opportunities CTE programs opened up – in addition to things I expected to be involved like glass blowing, carpentry, and plumbing, Arizona has 67 low-cost two-year programs that provide training and certifications in areas like business management and medical records technologies. Common clubs like FBLA and FFA also fall under CTE. Across the whole series, we reached over a hundred Arizonan families and provided resources for education from financial aid to campus life.

GYC Webinar

Next week is the final week of this project, so I’m excited to report out on my findings and reflections throughout this whole process. Thank you to everyone who’s kept up with my blogs from the start!

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    sofia_r
    That is cool! What does the police department do to keep their budget in place?
    Yajaira Garcia
    I did not know about the footage having to be stored. What other things do they use the budget for? And could you explain what CTE is?
    toby_c
    Hey Yajaira! Another huge expense in the police department's budget is cruisers and vehicles - as you can imagine, they have to be switched out pretty frequently (5 years for an undercover vehicle), and each vehicle, including motorcycles, must be fully equipped. Career and Technical Education is essentially an alternative to a four year university. It usually covers things like trade/vocational schools, but in Arizona, they offer two-year certificate programs for a wide range of things. Here's the link to the webinar playlist if you'd like to look more into it! https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIEvwFysSXS7ayevb-2dVCI6aISHaUTkn&si=brPFCrJ-Rxcs_aek
    toby_c
    Hi Sofia, there's a robust process that each department head goes through with the town manager to cut down the budget at the beginning of each fiscal year. It's essentially a negotiation to determine what's necessary. In a developing small town like PV, you want to make sure that the taxpayer money being collected now is spent on those same constituents, instead of having it collect interest in a savings account.
    lena_t
    WOW 6 figures on Office and Cloud space is indeed shocking! Do you know if there is a 'keeper' that cleans out the storage like if a footage is over 15 years old or is that too risky?

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