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Glendale police chief returning department to its roots

Glendale Police Chief Rick St. John (Glendale Police Department Photo)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Glendale Police Department is coming back to its roots … in a way.

Chief Rick St. John says he’s encouraging his officers to get their heads out of smartphones and computers and talk to people more.

“I’m trying to remind this millennial generation – who really love computers – that technology supports our efforts,” he said. “It doesn’t drive our efforts.”

St. John joined the Glendale Police Department in 1996. He said back then, community-oriented policing was the gold standard. Slowly, crime data and numbers took over. However, St. John said, he didn’t realize it until he became chief a year ago.

“[From data], I can tell you there’s a higher rate of drug use in this area, a higher burglary problem, whatever it might be,” St. John said. “But the community may not recognize that as their number-one quality of life issue.

“If we’re only addressing what we identify as quality-of-life issues, then we’re not meeting the needs of our community. We have to allow them to communicate with us – provide the venue for communication – so that we can understand what they believe are quality-of-life issues.”

Quality of life can refer to anything from speeding cars to high rates of drug usage and crime.

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