Originally Published: June 29, 2018 5:59 a.m.
Being raised with the stories of his grandparents who lived in Europe and the United States during World War II gave James Edelstein the belief that nothing is more important than to respect each and every human life.
Deputy Chief Edelstein of the Prescott Valley Police Department appeared before the Town Council at the June 14 meeting when the council and Police Chief Bryan Jarrell honored him for 20 years of service to the community.
Jarrell gave a brief history of Edelstein’s life and accomplishments. Born and raised in Phoenix, Edelstein moved to Yavapai County in 1994 to start a career in law enforcement, first with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office as a detention officer and then as a deputy sheriff where he served in Bagdad for about three years.
In 1998, Edelstein began working for the Prescott Valley Police Department, and has held numerous positions over the past 20 years, including patrol officer, master patrol officer, corporal, detective, patrol sergeant, detective sergeant, Northern Arizona Regional Training Academy (NARTA) sergeant, lieutenant, commander, and currently as deputy chief.
He was the assistant team leader for the department’s SWAT team as well as department range master for several years.
In 2011, Edelstein completed the Leadership in Police Organization’s training from the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Testing’s Center for Leadership and Excellence and also graduated from the FBI National Academy in 2015.
He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice in 2017, and currently is pursuing a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership through Fort Hays State University.
He has received awards from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Trauma Intervention Program for his efforts in impaired driving enforcement and community service.
Edelstein and his wife, Sarah, have been married for 25 years and together have three sons — J.T., Jacob and Toby. They enjoy athletics, outdoor activities, hanging out together, volunteering at the annual Shop with a Cop event, and participating as a family match through Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Edelstein was instrumental in launching “Bigs in Blue” through Big Brothers Big Sisters, which pairs law enforcement personnel with children in need of positive role models. Through his efforts nearly 50 individuals throughout Yavapai County have stepped forward to help inspire tomorrow’s youth.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with James for the past four-and-a-half years,” Chief Jarrell said. “As chief, it’s important to have the right people around you, and no one is more important than the second in command.”
He said when that person agrees with the chief all the time, it can be as destructive as someone who obstructs or undermines all of the chief’s efforts.
“James questions me and challenges the direction we are going as an agency, which I appreciate beyond words. His actions ensure that this agency — not just me — can realize our full potential. I appreciate his guidance and have found his decisions are always sound and based on objective data,” Jarrell said, adding that he believes Edelstein will make a great chief one day.
“I hope he has someone as steady and competent as I have had in the past four-and-a-half years by his side,” he said.
Edelstein said he realized about 10 years into his 24-year career after giving CPR to a baby that he needed to share aspects of his job with his wife and family.
“I learned a lot from the people I served with,” Edelstein said. “To make it through a career in policing, it takes a family, and the community is part of the family, the police family is part of that family.”
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