Winter 2021 District Newsletter
I could not be happier to welcome everyone to 2021! Each one of us faced unique and daunting challenges throughout calendar year 2020 and I can only hope 2021 will usher in a sense of normalcy, safety, and renewed collaboration. As you may know, the typical slate of winter events will look a lot different this year. As of this writing, the Waste Management Phoenix Open will go forward with a significantly diminished occupancy footprint and the Barrett Jackson Auto Auction has been postponed to March. Discussions are still being held to determine the plans for Spring Training baseball and many other signature events in the City of Scottsdale. While the event season will look different than normal, we are diligently working to balance safety and accessibility for residents and visitors alike.
As if the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic weren't enough, our city faced unprecedented adversity in the form of rioting and protesting in and around our Downtown District. Not unlike the civil unrest seen across the country, many of our officers stood face-to-face with those protesting injustices nationwide. While we may have walked away bruised, we were not broken. In fact, our workforce came out stronger. I credit this not only to our remarkable employees, but also to the unending support we have received from our community. Not a week goes by where I don't hear a story of someone paying for an officer's coffee, donating food or gift cards to our stations, or delivering and hanging signs in our hallways to express support and admiration. Your support is unbelievably vital, now more than ever.
Over the past year, I have met with, spoken to, or corresponded with numerous residents and business leaders in the City of Scottsdale. I have appreciated this collaboration with the community to lessen the impact of the many issues we've faced. Time and time again, recurring themes emerged during these conversations: speeding vehicles and short-term rental properties.
In addition to patrol-based speed enforcement details, we frequently work alongside our Traffic Enforcement Section officers to address high complaint areas. We also work with our Photo Enforcement group to study traffic patterns and to identify locations for speed cameras and signs. We are able to better deploy our officers based upon the information we receive from the community, so please keep up the communication.
Short-Term Rental Properties
With the statewide restrictions and closure of the states adjacent to our own, we have seen an unprecedented increase in short-term rental occupancy throughout 2020. Along with increased occupancy, we have experienced increased issues related to noise, traffic and general disturbances. While state law prohibits cities from regulating short-term rental properties, we can still address violations of the law and work with property owners to mitigate any issues related to their listings. Our Crime Prevention employees also work with Code Enforcement and the Scottsdale City Prosecutor's Office to appropriately address code and statutory violations. Because of the limitations placed upon us by state law, I cannot promise we will eradicate short-term rental properties from the city, though I can promise we will work diligently to maintain the peace and quiet within our neighborhoods.
Commander P. Regan
Foothills District Commander
Cell phone usage while driving now citable
As of Jan. 1, 2021, the state-wide "Hands Off" Law takes effect after a year of warnings and education throughout 2020. This means that handheld cellphone usage (and stand-alone electronic device usage in general) while operating a motor vehicle is banned and subject to citations and fines here in Arizona.
In a nutshell, while you can use these items in a "hands-free" capacity, you may not use your body to hold or support them. You also may not read, write or send a message, scroll through social media, and watch or record videos.
You can, however, use the device while stopped at a stoplight, use voice-based communication like talk-to-text, swipe or press to answer or end a call, engage navigational functions, and call 9-1-1 to request help or report a crime-in-progress.
To see more detailed information, check out this article from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.
Heading into tax season ahead of the deadline
It's everyone's favorite time of the year... that's right, tax season. While filing taxes may not be anyone's most enjoyable activity, it can serve as a great reminder to double-check our sensitive personal information. The Social Security Administration is a great source of information and provides numerous useful tips on keeping that information safe from would-be criminals. The Social Security Administration does keep our records confidential but those would-be criminals are constantly exploring new ways to get that information from us.
What if you think someone is using your Social Security Number?
If you suspect that someone is using your social security number for work purposes, you should contact the Social Security Administration to report the issue. You may also review earnings posted on your Social Security Statement. The Statement is available online to workers 18 and older. To get your Statement, go to SocialSecurity.gov.
What if an identity thief is creating credit problems for you?
You should go to IDTheft.gov and report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). That website is a one-stop national resource to learn about the crime of identity theft. It provides detailed information to help you deter, detect, and defend against identity theft.
You may also want to contact the IRS to check your recent tax returns. Identity thieves often use the social security numbers of their victims to file false tax returns. If you are eligible for a tax refund, the thief could file a tax return before you and collect the refund. If you think you may have tax issues from identity theft, go to IRS.gov.
Do you know your bike's serial number?
Did you know that 80 percent of bicycles recovered by the Scottsdale Police Department are unable to be returned to their owners? This is a shockingly depressing number and one that is easily remedied. Your homework: some time today, go take a picture of your bike, and then take a picture of the serial number.
When a bike is reported stolen anywhere in the US, the reporting agency has the capability of entering the serial number, along with make and model, into a national database, linked to the theft report and thus, your contact information. The problem: rarely do our victims provide that number.
Police officers everywhere respond to calls of suspicious or illegal activity involving a person on a bike (or with a bike) on a regular basis. As part of any investigation, the serial number of the bike will be ran to check for status. In most cases, it comes back "clear" and we have to watch your bike ride away. We'd much rather see the smile on your face when we show up to return it, so do your homework, and document that serial number.
Comment on a police employee
We believe our men and women - whether they be sworn officers, civilian employees, or volunteers - are among the best in the nation. If you've had an interaction with police personnel that left you impressed (or not), we want to hear about it. We are always looking for ways to improve our Department, share positive feedback and learn from mistakes. Here's a link to the simple form on our website at ScottsdaleAZ.gov.
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. 6 at the North Corp Yard, 9191 E. San Salvador Drive.
Find out all the items that can be recycled.