PAGE – Page Police were put to the test on the July Fourth holiday. Short-handed and facing challenges on multiple fronts, including a parade, downtown events and fireworks, Chief Drew Sanders took proactive measures. He asked the city council for $50,000 to get a handle on Horseshoe Bend for the four-day weekend.
The council approved unanimously. The money was used to rent barricades, and cover overtime expenses. He also arranged assistance from Arizona Department of Public Safety. They sent two officers. In all, there were four assigned to Horseshoe Bend along with a central command unit. Chief Sanders told the Chronicle the HSB operation was a success.
The Fourth of July Parade was larger than recent years. Judy Franz, executive director of Chamber of Commerce, reported 47 entries – about twice as last year’s event.
Sanders said planning for the event begins early. His department is already thinking about next year. They evaluate successes and look for areas to improve. He said the public sees the event as seamless, but it’s carefully choreographed. All available officers and civilian employees were on duty, about 15 in all.
Before the event, all hotels were notified of traffic routes and street closing schedules. Social media and news organizations were also used to get the word out and maps in circulation.
Sanders hoped the Public Safety Job Fair would help fill three vacancies. It didn’t work out that way. He says, “The job fair was under attended. We were hoping for more interest here locally. Not sure if we will get any applications from qualified applicants. We are exploring our options and deciding on our next steps.”
Sanders grew up in a small town, so he feels at home in Page and says, “The sense of community is off the charts.” It’s highly competitive and difficult to get qualified people to relocate to area. People don’t know what Page as a town has to offer, preferring the larger cities. There are other hurdles too. Potential recruits often have children in school and spouses who don’t to relocate.
Sanders said he wants “qualified applicants that reflect the diversity of the community. It’s not a job, it’s a calling.” He believes people “have a duty to serve, a duty we owe as Americans.” He’s looking for people with a “drive to serve.” While the news and social media often criticize the latest generation of adults, he sees it differently and believes there are plenty young people who fit the bill, adding, “ordinary people can do extraordinary things with desire and physical ability.”