I live in downtown Nogales. I am all over the place throughout Santa Cruz County because it has so much to offer as far as nature and fine people. I am also fortunate to travel to other cities and towns throughout the United States and Mexico.
Many people, from all over the world, drop in for visits throughout the year. One thing that always comes up is how the Nogales Police Department has modeled “community policing.”
The U.S. Department of Justice drew up a plan for community policing in 1994 because thousands of communities (cities, towns and unincorporated areas) want to live in a safe environment knowing that children, seniors and families have a superior quality of life and can trust their local police and sheriff departments. Nogales has always had that, no matter who the mayor, sheriff or police chief is.
Police officers (and sheriff’s deputies) know the areas they patrol, they know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. They know the dangers and anomalies of patrolling on an international border, they are bilingual to best serve the area and they are professional.
I do not know any police officer or deputy personally. However, I watch when they make sure people are driving safely when children are going to school, returning home from school or participating in sports. They are present at public functions and know who might create problems. They are at our local Walmart when there are armed Mexican-killers around. They put their lives on the line for our safety, and sadly enough, we lost one of these fine officers doing exactly that.
I know we do not pay our police officers and sheriff deputies what they are worth. We can leave home and know that they are close by. We can fall asleep knowing they are taking care of things that happen on an international border, and we can wake up and continue our lives oblivious to what they experience.
If you have always lived in Nogales you may not appreciate what we have as far as first responders. Believe me, thousands of communities have been working since the ‘90s to build what we already have.
I and many others appreciate the work police officers and sheriff’s deputies are doing. We appreciate their families and friends that worry about them when they leave their homes and until they get back home, again. Thank you, first responders, for taking care of our community, those that are visible and those that are invisible to most.