Annual Message from the Desk of Sheriff Mark J. Dannels
Our law enforcement profession continues to be under a public microscope of scrutiny by those that possess a personal bias toward those that wear the badge. Unfortunately, political ideologies have infected our profession at all levels too.
This general application of distaste directed at those that protect your communities and constitutional rights has created a negative impact on our profession.
Rural policing makes up over 88% of all the policing in America leaving less than 12% of policing for urban communities. My 37-year law enforcement career has been enjoyed in rural communities where the layers of bureaucracy are limited, and neighbors still know you by first name. Rural policing is special to me for all the right reasons. But no one can debate that rural policing faces many challenges. Recruitment and retention supported by compensation parity continues to hinder rural policing. Cochise County is no exception.
Since being elected, I have prioritized our loyal team-members with high hopes we can retain and pay these dedicated members a fair and market-driven compensation package. I commend members of our Board of Supervisors and you for sharing our vision as we have sustained competitive salaries for rural Cochise County. My commitment remains steadfast that we must remain competitive to retain our talented and skilled team-members supported by a vigorous marketing and recruiting program. Recruitment and retention are supported by team-member recognition and reward for their public service. An effort I have instilled with all my leadership team. I am proud to showcase the high caliber of men and women that serve this office's community mission.
To refresh our office's 3-objectives; Education, Prevention (awareness) and Enforcement. These blended objectives continue to serve our office well with a focus on Education and Prevention. Any community bond requires a shared trust. The ingredients of trust include your Sheriff's Office embracing a culture of community support. Culture equals behavior that is acceptable to our citizens guided by a progressive training and legal update program. Finally, our primary written expectation will always be our "Oath of Office."
The success of any law enforcement agency rests with its community reputation. I accept, we own our decisions, but the community owns our reputation. I take this action very seriously which reflects the positive reputation we possess with you and throughout the state. Once again, I credit our team-members for this earned reputation.
Additional priorities in 2022 will be our aging jail, continued partnerships, innovative programs in securing our border communities, fiscal responsibilities, implementation of a traffic unit to address traffic concerns with a focus on the impaired driver and most important, the continued relationship we share with you. The role of government shall never be governed within, but by those that we govern for.
I look forward to leading your Sheriff's Office in 2022 and conclude by saying this, "If the past has taught us anything, our challenges have become our successes." Thank you again for this tremendous opportunity as we come together to safeguard our home, Cochise County!