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Eye on Sedona Police Department

Article submitted by the City of Sedona and written by Sedona Chief of Police Raymond Cota

Article submitted by the City of Sedona and written by Sedona Chief of Police Raymond Cota

Sedona AZ (September 10, 2014) –  Public Trust. “I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith, and I accept it as a public trust to be held so long as I am true to the ethics of the police service.” This is a segment from the final passage of the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics that I committed to uphold and live by when I became a police officer nearly 35 years ago. It was reconfirmed again upon becoming your Chief of Police in July 2010 by affirming my commitment to the Code of Ethics as established by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, which in part states, “I am a servant of the people and I recognize my position as a symbol of public faith. I accept it as a public trust to be held so long as I am true to the law and serve the people of Arizona.”

Public trust is essential to effective, responsible and professional policing. When trust in the police is high, the community supports and helps the police department in its crime and safety initiatives and activities. When trust is low, the community will question the actions of the police, express mistrust and will be hesitant or unwilling to assist in the department’s public safety mission. Having a police department that fosters high public trust will allow us to maximize the use of our power of influence which focuses on using honor and principles to earn people’s respect and make a positive difference in their lives. The consequence of low trust too often can result in the irresponsible use of our power of control.

As your Police Chief being able to identify the factors that the community considers in determining the amount of trust they place in the police department is a constant focus of mine. As such, I as well as the members of the police department look for every opportunity to engage in activities that foster quality interaction and involvement with all members of our community. Each and every interaction that we have with the community is seen as an opportunity to build and sustain a high level of public trust.

Sedona Police Department is located on Roadrunner Drive in west Sedona

Sedona Police Department is located on Roadrunner Drive in west Sedona

Attending community service and faith-based group meetings, collaborating with business and visitor/tourism organizations, engaging in cooperative and on-going dialogue with our local media, developing neighborhood watch teams, making presentations at home owner association meetings, and having an active role with students, teachers, parents and staff on our local school campuses are just a few of many ways that the police department takes part in and shows care for our community.

I know that not every interaction our department has with an individual or group will be perceived as positive by those involved or even by some who may learn about a particular situation or incident. However, in any circumstance you should always expect the police department to explain why certain courses of action were taken, to listen and seek to understand your questions or concerns, to actively seek out your feedback, to encourage and get your involvement in carrying out our public safety mission, and to always be honest, transparent, and professional. Additionally, you can expect your police department to hold itself accountable to those who we serve and to take timely and appropriate action to correct any matter where we have erred.

Recently at a meeting with our police department supervisors and managers, I spent time talking about the critical responsibilities that we have as the Sedona Police Department. I specifically mentioned that we are not just enforcers of the law, we are guardians of the freedoms that are provided to all under the laws of our State and the U.S. Constitution, that our purpose not only involves the protection of life and keeping the peace but to ensure justice and fairness.

There is a quote attributed to President Calvin Coolidge which states, “No one is compelled to choose the profession of police officer, but having chosen it, everyone is obligated to perform its duties and live up to the high standards of its requirements.” I will always strive to lead and support all the members of the Sedona Police Department to achieve these ideals and know in doing so, we all will live up to ethics of our profession and have the trust from our community to carry out our mission.

This SedonaEye.com article written by Sedona Police Chief Raymond Cota and submitted by the City of Sedona.
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6 Comments

  1. Sedona police need to get their egos in check…just like every police force in our nation. You work for US, we are not under military rule. YOU are the ones who need to behave decently to US.

  2. annie I am not sure I understand your comment in response to the article. Are you referring to something else rather than the article?

  3. Dennis says:

    @Allison Spear

    Appreciate that you questioned the intent of Annie Berardini-Rivers’ comment.
    Thank you.

  4. After 3x interacting with police; 1x as a driver, 1x as passenger , 1x as observer of car accident scene, I believe Sedona officers by & large are okay…1x the man was an obvious bully & he was terminated or sent packing from what I hear after several complaints while another officer a year or more later was nice & understanding of a simple but unintentional mistake & gave good advice & sent my elderly lady friend on. We still talk about how nice Officer Peote (sp?) was to her & it was the right thing to do & more than the right attitude. The car accident wasn’t major & it was handled fine it seemed…no shouting, no arm waving, no self righteous get outta here. Dignity, respect, self control, wisdom, public relations skills, ethics, morals, values, intelligence-lots go into making a good cop a good cop, a bad cop will always get worse….

  5. Allison Spear, i have been unnecessarily stopped for going 5 miles over the speed limit by a wet behind the ears cop at 6:30 in the morning in Uptown…going to Flagstaff to see the doctor. She called a SWAT guy to stand behind my car,where they chatted for 1/2 an hour. I believe MOST of Sedona’s police are great and remarkable folk. I also believe they need to remember their power over our lives is to protect, not threat.

  6. Frank Kling says:

    The positives of a local and less experienced police department often outweigh the negatives provided the community DEMANDS its police are well supervised, well educated and are constantly educated in-house to meet and exceed high ethical and moral standards. Demanding public accountability is a must. The “wet behind the ears” officer should never have been allowed on the street if a simple vehicular stop was too much to handle – she should be retrained and removed from public contact until able to have the maturity and decision making skills required to do her job. If she was hired to pad the minority stats, that’s wrong. There are over qualified minorities – find them, hire them. The police chief needs to be accessible at all times; the police officers should never interfere with a citizen for less than a criminal act. Their job is to protect not instigate. Good comment from that reader.

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