Class 30 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.
On December 4th, Class 30 had the pleasure of participating in the Public Safety Day. Class was held at the Police and Fire training facility, which is visible to the north of the 202. I mention that because for years, I’ve seen the facility and always wondered what they did there. I’m glad to report that it did not disappoint!
We started the day with a captivating department overview by Assistant Police Chief Walther on some of the unique challenges that the Scottsdale Police Department encounters. For instance, did you know that every year, Scottsdale has 9.2 MILLION visitors? Anyone who commutes on the 101 from January through April is probably not surprised to learn this… but the local police department is responsible for keeping that large amount of people safe with about 400 officers. This challenge has turned the Scottsdale PD into the special event specialists for the entire southwest, which is something they take a lot of pride in, for good reason.
Throughout Assistant Chief Walther’s talk, you really got the sense of what the Scottsdale PD is all about – service and community engagement. They truly pride themselves on providing excellent community service and are an organization that all Scottsdale residents can truly be proud of.
Next up, we had the opportunity to meet Havoc, who is an explosives-sniffing K9, got to check out the SWAT team’s equipment and learn about their extremely gutsy role in the department, and finally got to experience the police MILO training simulator. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, you should figure out a way to experience this (or apply for Class 31…). It puts you in the shoes of the police officers as you go through a very realistic game of “what would you do”, which definitely gets the blood flowing! Being able to experience “real world” situations that our police officers encounter is really powerful and will definitely give you more of an appreciation for the job that our police officers do on a daily basis.
Not to be outdone by their rivals in the Police Department, the Fire Department was up next and had put together an exciting and engaging program themselves. Although they have a friendly competition with their friends in the Police Department, the Fire Department also faces many of the same challenges as the PD. As with the police, the Fire Department is also responsible for the safety of the residents of Scottsdale and the millions of visitors we receive every year. One of the most powerful tools that they use to accomplish this is with an aggressive fire code on buildings. Scottsdale was one of the first communities in the country to require all buildings to have fire sprinklers, which is a very powerful weapon for saving lives and reducing loss. As with the Police Department, Scottsdale Fire is also very engaged with the community and puts customer service as a top priority.
For our hands-on demonstrations, we got to put on the full firefighting gear, at which point we were very grateful that we were doing this in early December. In full gear, we then had to find a baby in a blacked out room and take target practice with the fire hoses. We also got to go up in the ladder to about 100ft, which was definitely challenging for those of us in the class with a fear of heights, but it was worth it to experience what that vehicle is capable of.
As with every class so far, we definitely came away with new learnings and new perspectives on our Scottsdale Police and Fire Departments and the issues they face. We in the Scottsdale community are truly lucky to have such world-class organizations looking out for us. The men and women of these departments are truly heroes among us.