Class 29 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership.
“You should feel fortunate to work with such a great group of professionals. I’m really impressed with all of them!” That was a comment from one of my classmates near the end of our Safe Communities Day after observing and participating in demonstrations from the Scottsdale Police and Scottsdale Fire Departments.
Having worked in law enforcement my entire adult life and being raised by a career firefighter, I’ve always been passionate about the responsibilities of our public safety professionals. Sadly, public perception of these professions is largely shaped by Hollywood or media portrayal of the seemingly all-too familiar negative actions on the part of some police officers.
This is not what I get to see every day. What I see are dedicated professionals in both the Scottsdale Fire and Police Departments who are committed to and passionate about public service. They take their responsibilities of protecting the public seriously and care about their communities and sisters and brothers with whom they serve.
In an effort to provide a snapshot of the realities of public safety professions, Class 29 was exposed to a variety of roles filled by police officers and firefighters. One of my classmates asked Police Chief Alan Rodbell, “What keeps you up at night?” Chief Rodbell’s response was simply, “nothing”, noting that he is very fortunate to work for such a professional police force. Chief Rodbell would be the first person to admit that this is not something that any of us take for granted. In our department the culture of accountability is set through a variety of measures including; recruitment, training, supervision, policy, discipline, and public input. The sentiment of pride and accountability was equally apparent through Scottsdale Fire Chief Tom Shannon’s presentation. We are a proud police and fire organization and this was conveyed throughout the day.
Coordinated by Day Chair Lieutenant Eric Williams on the police side, Class 29 interacted with members of the K9 Unit, SWAT Team, Crisis Negotiators Team, and the Firearms Training Unit. I can attest that the mood of the class during lunch was definitely one of excitement from the morning experience with the police and in anticipation of what would follow with the fire department. Day Chair Deputy Chief Jim Ford set up interactive demonstrations which provided students with firsthand experiences with hose and water evolutions, Chest Compression Resuscitation techniques, search & rescue through a smoke-filled building, a ladder/tower truck demonstration, and fire extinguisher practice.
Admittedly, my first thought when seeing this day on the Core Program schedule was that this would seem like another day at work for me. I must say, however, that this was an extremely fun and informative day for both my classmates and me. When I think back to the comment of my classmate, I feel fortunate to work with such a great group of professionals. I’m really impressed with all of them!
To get an even better sense of the day, check out this short video!