MPD Chief James Hughes
MPD Chief James Hughes [Merenzi Young]

The Maricopa Police Department has focused on enhancing our community policing efforts.

The community policing model augments our vision of making every contact excellent. Community policing has become the mindset of this agency with the goal of improving the quality of life of our residents, visitors and employees. Community policing is an energetic, problem-solving model of policing. This initiative focuses on providing a greater voice to our residents in solving the problems in their community.

The primary purpose of MPD is to provide outstanding police services by maintaining a well-trained and properly staffed patrol division. Patrol is and always has been the backbone of the police department.

MPD focuses on the fundamentals of policing to deliver professional police services.

This profession is about people, and it has always been about people. Having a patrol division focused on people and solving the problems of the community are imperative.

Our officers continue to engage the community to build relationships with both the business and residential communities. Building a stronger relationship with the community will improve the information our officers receive from the public. This daily dialogue between residents and police officers is the foundation of problem-solving.

Community engagement must be purposeful and not superficial. Officers getting to know our resident by interacting with the public, attending community events like Shop with a Cop, Coffee with Cops and community meetings improve the trust between MPD and the residents we serve.

MPD is in the process of developing a community advisory board to meet with our leadership team on a regular basis to discuss the direction of the department and to make policing recommendations on behalf of the community. This advisory board will include faith-based members of our community along with other community stakeholders.

A major component of community policing is addressing crime problems by focusing on those small segments of the population that are causing most of the problems and committing the majority of the crimes.

Quality of life issues are important. MPD focuses on addressing nuisance-related issues that cause our residents frustration and negatively impact their quality of life. These issues include city code-related violations ranging from graffiti to traffic and parking issues. Having a police department that cares about not only keeping the city safe but beautiful is what will make a good city a great city.

Everyone wants to live in a great community. Great communities have low crime, orderly neighborhoods and an engaged police department that addresses their needs in a professional manner. These are the cornerstones of community policing.

Relationships drive progress and the more our officers get to know our residents and identify those who are up to no good will only serve to better our community.

James Hughes is police chief in Maricopa.

This letter appears in the August issue of InMaricopa magazine.