InMaricopa visited with the city’s first police officer, now-Sgt. Hal Koozer.
How does policing Maricopa today compare with when you started in 2007?
When we got here, PCSO was patrolling and taking all calls. We started with day shift and PCSO would cover the rest. Then as time went on, MPD took over the remaining shifts as more officers were hired. The beginning days were difficult as everyone came with their own way of doing policing. It took time for everyone to do things the “Maricopa way.”
What is your favorite part of the job?
The citizens of Maricopa have always welcomed us with open arms. They have made us feel welcome and supported us from day one. We have watched citizens do heroic things. We have laughed with them, and we have cried with them. The people make the city, and they have helped us make Maricopa one of the safest cities in Arizona.
Also, I love seeing my coworkers show amazing compassion for our citizens. I have seen them purchase bikes for children whose bikes had been stolen and the parents could not afford a new one.
What do you enjoy least?
My least favorite part of the job is seeing people hurt. It’s hard not to take some of that home with you. I have an extremely supportive wife and family who take very good care of me. I owe them everything!
What do you wish all Maricopans knew?
I want them to know that we care. I want them to never feel alone with their problems. I want them to know there is always help available. The employees of the Maricopa Police Department are top notch; you won’t find any better people on this planet.
Favorite anecdote from your days in the department?
When we started, we were using maps provided by the Chamber of Commerce. Addresses were difficult to find as most of us were used to finding addresses based on a grid system. Radios were terrible as antennas had not been set up yet. We could not get out in most areas of Maricopa. Our police station was created from four old Phoenix Police Department single-wide mobile homes that were in shambles upon delivery.
This story was first published in the September edition of InMaricopa magazine.