Winter 2018 District Newsletter
Recently, we have received many questions about the number of panhandlers along the streets and medians throughout the city. The most common question is whether it is legal to panhandle.
Panhandling in and of itself is not illegal. It is a constitutionally protected right of free speech. However, it is illegal for panhandlers to walk into and impede the free flow of traffic. It is also illegal for a panhandler to become aggressive with people. If a panhandler asks for money and you tell them no, they should leave you alone. If they continue to bother you or become aggressive with you, you can call the police department at 480-312-5000 or potentially 9-1-1 if the situation gets out of hand.
Contrary to popular belief, panhandlers are often not homeless. Many studies have shown that only a small percentage of panhandlers are actually homeless. Panhandling is often considered a job and those that ask for money on the corner of our intersections often have a place they call home. Homelessness in many cases is the result of difficult circumstances like a loss of their job or mental illness. Panhandling is normally by choice where homelessness is not. Giving a panhandler money only confirms that asking for money is easier than getting a job. This action keeps them in our city and at our intersections.
Our officers and Police Crisis Intervention Specialists continue to stop and have conversations with our homeless population to offer assistance and resources. For someone who is truly homeless, one of the best things you can do to help is volunteer your time or provide resources to those organizations that help combat homelessness. There are several organizations that provide local resources to the homeless, including Central Arizona Shelter Services and St. Vincent de Paul. One Scottsdale based organization is Shoebox Ministry, which provides personal hygiene products for the homeless and the working poor.
Commander Joe LeDuc
Foothills District Commander
Active shooter preparedness
With active shooter incidents a topic of concern, the Scottsdale Police Department encourages residents and businesses to educate themselves on workplace violence, active shooter awareness and incident response planning. Whether it is a private citizen who wants to be safer or a business that is developing a workplace safety strategy, resources are available through various federal Law Enforcement agencies that benefit our entire community. The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have a vast array of resources available through their websites. The Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency websites include online training and literature on a variety of subjects related to active shooter incidents to include violence behavioral indicators, how to develop an emergency action plan and what to do during and after an active shooter incident.
Please see the following links for additional information:
Meet the newest member of our team
The Scottsdale Police Department is pleased to announce that the Police Crisis Intervention Section has grown by four paws. After the passing of our beloved Crisis Response K9 "Fozzie," we are continuing his legacy with the Crisis Response K9 program. The Scottsdale Police Department was the first police department to have a full-time Crisis Response Canine. Since we began this program ten years ago numerous public safety agencies followed suit. There are now crisis canines serving communities throughout the United States and Canada.
Last week, Tish Dittman from Zona Labradors, donated an 11-month-old English Chocolate Labrador to the department. Julie Banfill with Dogology Contemporary Canine Services has offered to donate her training expertise to ensure this rookie pup is ready for his new career. This noble canine and partner will comfort crime victims and witnesses and provide solace for people experiencing their darkest days. In addition, this Crisis Response Canine will serve as a goodwill ambassador, help with community outreach, visit schools and provide emotional support to our public safety professionals serving the community under difficult and stressful conditions.
The community was asked to vote on a name for our new dog and after a close vote, the name Chase was chosen. Chase is very excited to get his new badge and name tag soon and start providing services for members of the Scottsdale Community.
Classic tips for the new year
It's common today to hear about all the new high-tech wonder gadgets that will make our lives safer and more secure in the future. Everything from biometrics, digital CCTV to smart cards will have a role to play in our personal security. However, here are some easy, "old school" ways to help make your life safer starting right now.
- If possible, don't jog, walk or drive alone - especially at night and in less populated areas. Simply put: There is enhanced safety in numbers.
- Properly lock your home - including closing your garage door - even when you are at home. We constantly respond to calls where valuables (tools, lawnmowers, bikes, toys, etc.) have been taken from an open garage, even when the victim was at home.
- Please be sure to listen to that "little voice" inside of all of us. Be aware of your surroundings (law enforcement folks call this "situational awareness") and look for any suspicious persons and activities. Trust your instincts.
- Don't carry around large amounts of cash or wear glittery valuables. Also, if you need to use an ATM, go to a busy, well-lit location and only withdraw the amount of cash you really need.
- Park your vehicle in well-lit, populated areas. Don't leave your key in the car and properly secure your vehicle (i.e. close your windows and lock the doors) when you park. Also, don't leave any valuables in plain sight.
- Get to know your neighbors. It is often said that a so-called "nosy neighbor" is the best home break-in crime fighting device available.
- If you do observe any suspicious persons or activities - call your local police immediately. It's better to call law enforcement to report a suspicious person or incident than to wait until an actual crime is committed.
When to call 9-1-1
For many people, there's a stigma about calling 9-1-1.
One frame of mind is: "It's not that big of an emergency" or "I'm just wasting their time." These people tend to talk themselves out of making the call in the first place, allowing suspicious activity to go unchecked.
Alternately, many movies and TV shows portray a character calling 9-1-1, giving one line (like: "there's just been a murder on Baker Street"), and then disconnecting. You would be surprised how many people get mad when asked questions by the 9-1-1 operator. Due to their misconceptions, they start yelling at the operator "just get here!" or "why aren't you sending anyone?"
Here's what you need to know:
When the call is made in real life, you and the 9-1-1 operator work together, with you being the eyes and ears of the operator and the operator giving life-saving advice or instructions while simultaneously passing your information on to the dispatcher.
The most important piece of information you hold is the LOCATION. Once your operator has entered the location and the nature of the call (medical/shooting/drunk driving/suspicious activity), he/she sends the dispatcher the information. The dispatcher then makes the broadcast in seconds, without knowing any further information and the officers start driving your way. The operator will keep you on the line and guide you through further questions. He/she types your answers into the call so that the dispatcher and officers then know what exactly is going on.
Rest assured that operators, dispatchers and officers are working together to respond as quickly as possible to your emergency.
What is SPD doing about the opioid crisis?
In this edition of our Behind the Badge video, Chief Alan Rodbell and Community Liaison Chris Vassall talk to their panel about what the Scottsdale Police Department is doing about the opioid crisis.
To watch previous episodes of Behind the Badge, just visit the SPD YouTube page.
"Shred It" events
Don't be a potential victim of identity theft. Protect your identity by attending a "Shred It" event. Bring your personal and/or commercial documents to be shredded from 7 to 10 a.m. on the day of the event at the Walmart parking lot, 15355 N. Northsight Blvd. Upcoming dates, all Saturdays, are Jan. 6, Feb. 10 and Mar. 3. Cost is $4 per box. All paper is shredded on site. These events are hosted by Copper Buttons and the Police Officers of Scottsdale Association. A portion of the proceeds go to charities and individuals in need.
Electronics Recycling Collection Day
Recycle your old electronics equipment, including computers, TVs and phones. Our next electronics recycling event will be from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at the North Corp Yard, 9191 E. San Salvador Drive. Find out all the items that can be recycled.