From the Front Lines: Our Ride-Along with Gilbert Police
This holiday season as you’re enjoying festivities with family and friends, Valley police officers are working to ensure the roads stay safe.
As members of Gilbert Leadership Class 22, we are challenged to learn more about our community, and what better way than to see those who protect Gilbert firsthand? That’s why we joined the Gilbert Police Department for a night of their 28th annual East Valley DUI Task Force.
More than 8 different agencies, from Gilbert to Mesa and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, work to keep impaired drivers off the streets during the holidays. As of Saturday, December 14th, task force officers had made over 3,000 traffic stops resulting in roughly 520 DUI arrests.
This was an eye-opening experience – below are our top 5 takeaways from the night:
5. It’s a Family Affair
Although from different agencies, all of the officers work together as one joint unit. It’s not about what municipality you’re from, it’s about protecting the citizens of Arizona as you were sworn to do. While each may work for a different agency, there are no jurisdictional boundaries.
4. It’s the Little Things
Whether making a wide turn, driving too fast or too slow, officers are on the lookout for signs of impairment. Not every stop will result in an arrest or even a ticket, officers are there to educate and remind drivers about traffic laws.
3. It’s Not an Easy Job
Throughout the holiday season, task force members work long hours well into the cold morning. We were impressed with the way they handled themselves even with the most argumentative of detainees.
2. It’s Not Just Business, It’s Personal
The Gilbert officers are proud members of the community and are dedicated to keeping it safe. The department has personally felt the impact of impaired driving when one of their own, Officer Robert D. Targosz, was killed in the line of duty by a suspected drunk driver on April 30, 2006. Today, every member of the Gilbert Motor Unit wears a symbol on their uniform in remembrance of him.
1. It’s Not Worth the Risk
If you feel like enjoying a holiday spirit, please ensure you have a designated driver. As the saying goes, “Drive hammered, get nailed.”
Thanks, Gilbert Police Department, for showing us the ropes. Want to learn more about the Gilbert Police Department? Join the Citizens’ Police Academy this spring! Call (480) 635-7520 for more information.
This blog was contributed by Town of Gilbert staff members Mary Vinzant and Jennifer Alvarez.