PV residents give cops a night out
Civilians tell officers they appreciate their work
It started at the Prescott Valley Police Department. Quite a few police officers and town staff, including many town councilmembers and Mayor Harvey Skoog, were ready to head out to neighborhood gatherings to meet with Prescott Valley residents for National Night Out, an event meant to generate support for, and participate in, local anti-crime programs as well as strengthen police-community partnerships.
Prescott Valley Police Department was all about reestablishing its relationship with the community of Prescott Valley that night, Sergeant Jake Jackson said.
“You look at the news every night and you see all the marches, all the different protests, all the community movements that are trying to influence society and a lot of it, in my opinion, is based on a lack of trust and relationships with their local police departments,” Jackson said. “This is one of those nights that’s an opportunity for officers to make meaningful contact and reestablish that relationship.”
However, good relationships aren’t simply based on an annual meeting, Jackson said, noting there has to be frequent communication and sharing of information and working together to resolve problems. National Night Out, he said, is a great time for officers to get involved in that as well as for everyone in the community to partake.
From the Prescott Valley Police Department, the first stop of the night was the home of Daniel Kartychok. He was getting ready to start grilling some hot dogs for those who would eventually show up.
At first, there were only a handful of cops, but more soon showed up as well as many other residents, such as Ed Coyle, who said he is pro-military and pro-law enforcement.
“My father-in-law was a cop back east, so I see things from their side, the dangers they go through. A lot of people don’t, they think cops ride around and eat donuts all day long … the thing is it’s a job where they have to be aware of their surroundings and what’s going on in this country,” Coyle said. “They have targets painted on their back. It’s really concerning. I don’t know what the public can do, I don’t know what the police can do in some of those situations.”
While a gathering for National Night Out hadn’t been in his neighborhood for a few years, it’s always nice to connect with the officers, Coyle said, adding that all he can really tell them is that he and his wife appreciate the work they do.
Kartychock also said he enjoys National Night Out as it’s good to know what’s going on in the community.
“A lot of times we’re in the dark, you hear sirens, but you don’t know what it’s all about,” he said. “Sometimes you’re just wondering what’s going on. You know there’s all the normal stuff, but I think we’ve got a pretty good community going on.”
Following the visit at that neighborhood, the second stop was at Granville. Though no one was cooking up food and serving hot dogs like Kartychock was, the residents did enjoy hearing what Sgt. Jason Kaufman and Chief Bryan Jarrell had to say. Jarrell had also spoken at the first stop.
Though he’s noticed a divided community across the country, that really hasn’t happened in Prescott Valley, Jarrell said, noting that it was heading that way before the recent tax increase.
“We were headed to being a reactionary police department instead of being able to be involved in our community. Because of the recent tax increase, we’ve been able to add staffing, improvements in the police department, we’ll be adding a traffic section,” Jarrell said, stating that there’s currently a sergeant and two officers that will become a sergeant and five officers. There’s also going to be a Community and Police Solutions group “working on problems throughout the community. We’ll be able to start a lot of community outreach programs. All of this would not have been possible without the current town council being visionary enough and supportive of our needs to enact that half-cent sales tax.”
While the stop at Granville took up the rest of the night, those two certainly weren’t the only gatherings that took place. Sam and Margie Gunnels held a gathering where there were at least 55 people. Gunnels said she and her husband really enjoy National Night Out, having done it for eight years.
“You get to meet a lot of wonderful people, you help keep crime down, it’s wonderful,” she said. “We love our policemen and we love our firemen.”