Chief Dale Walters says there are two things cops hate – 1) status quo 2) change. He’s the exception.
“I love change,” he says. “If you’re not at the forefront, you’re falling behind.”
To date, he has focused on partnerships and training, personnel, and professionalism.
“There’s not a whole lot that’s the same,” says Chuck Haines, who joined Globe PD in 1996. “We’ve got a whole new department.”
After serving the department as a patrol officer, narcotics agent, criminal detective, and squad patrol sergeant, Haines retired in 2016 and went on reserve.
“Things were not running too smoothly,” he recalls. “It was difficult to get funding for different things. We didn’t have the best equipment… or pay. Things were in shambles.”
Then Dale Walters became Police Chief in late 2018. He took Mike Boyd and Chuck Haines to breakfast and served up his vision.
“Everything was going to get touched,” says Chuck. “Building, cars, pay… and he was accurate.“
Facilities & Equipment
The remodeling of the police station is nearly complete. For the first time in history, Globe PD has a professional interview room. The old drunk tank has been converted into a breakroom and the basement is under construction to become an onsite training space and co-ed locker room.
Dale Walters, Chief of Police, spends a lot of his time in meetings, on boards, and building partnerships, but he’s also been known to do drywall patches and take out the trash. Lieutenant Steve Williams deals with day-to-day management of patrol and criminal investigation units and Commander Chuck Haines oversees the civilian staff, coordinates personnel training and applies for grants.
“I’m a paper-pusher,” says Commander Haines with a laugh, “the administrative guy.”
His paperwork results in grant funding for everything from equipment upgrades to overtime pay for officers. The speed display signs on Highway 60 reduce traffic injuries and fatalities along the corridor.
“It’s not always about law enforcement,” notes Chief Walters. “Sometimes it’s about awareness.”
Purchases of new police vehicles were made through AZ CARES funding in 2021 and a federal grant from Homeland Security is currently being used for radio improvements. Globe PD teamed up with Globe Fire, Tri-City, Miami PD, and Gila County on the application. The first year $80K was awarded and fully-funded digital radios for Globe PD and the Gila County Sheriff’s office. The final $200K has been approved; these funds will fully outfit both fire departments and Miami PD with radio handhelds and vehicle radio upgrades.
“With the digital upgrade we’ll have a better system of communication which in turn is going to benefit the community,” says Chuck Haines.
The federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants put more police officers on the streets and build community trust and safety. Applications open in April. Globe PD has one grant-funded School Resource Officer (SRO) splitting time between the senior and junior high schools. For the size of the community, two would be beneficial, according to Commander Haines.
“It’s always a major benefit to developing the relationships with the students at that level,” he says, “it develops trust with the department and pays off in the end.”
Commander Haines is also working on one of the department’s top priorities – accreditation by Arizona Chiefs of Police (ACOP). He is responsible for providing proof of compliance with each policy.
“Not just policies, its leadership, changes to training and personnel,” says Chief Walters. According to Chief Walters, ACOP accreditation was designed for rural agencies, but could be adopted statewide and is essential for a professional department.
“It forces you into progressing as social norms and laws and expectations change,” says Chief Walters.
Drugs & Mental Health
Though a lot has changed in law enforcement technology in a quarter-century – body-worn cameras, computers in the vehicle, tasers – the problems that police deal with in Globe, have not. Drugs and domestic violence remain high on the list.
There have been recent improvements. Training helps officers know the difference between someone on drugs and someone having a mental health crisis. Officer Roman Hernandez has a particular interest in drug interdiction and says it’s about more than preventing overdoses.
“There is a lot of domestic violence and a lot of time there are drugs involved,” he says. “A lot of traffic stops with drugs affecting their driving.”
Police can call for a Behavioral Health Counselor to come out and assess a suspect. They can help get people placed in mental health care facilities. With few beds available, however, most end up in jail.
“Law enforcement is not the solution for mental health issues,” says Chief Walters. “We cannot arrest our way out of this; there has to be something else.”
Dale Walters spent years undercover and then nearly 7 as head of the Narcotics department in Chandler. Some of the worst experiences he’s had in law enforcement are witnessing the impact that illegal drug use has on individuals, the victims of crimes, and the devastating impact on families.
“Whether it’s alcohol or hard drugs, if people understood the devastating impact it has on families and societies, they’d stop celebrating it like it’s something cool,” he says.
The general population, he adds, doesn’t realize how overpowering addition can be.
“People will do almost anything to fill that need,” says Dale Walters. “You can’t see a counselor every two weeks and kick it. You need to be in a facility.”
“Probably the greatest need is for mental health assistance,” says Commander Haines. “It’s almost non-existent. We’re dealing with the same people over and over again.“
“If we could take the politics out of everything we’d get a lot more done,” says Chief Walters.
“We’ve got to start looking at things reasonably.”
“We serve the community,” says Chief Walters. “We want to be part of the community,”
To counter the negativity inherent in the profession, officers are encouraged to participate in public events and connect with the citizens in the community, especially children.“Kids can get scared of police, fire or anyone in uniform,” says Roman Hernandez. “It allows us to make a positive impact on them.”
Roman Hernandez, 28, is a Globe PD patrol officer and father of five. He recently participated in a mock DUI for Globe High School students to educate kids on the importance of seat belts and the dangers of texting and driving. Done in collaboration with Arizona Youth Partnership, CVRMC and Globe Fire, drama students acted as patients and were air-evacuated. Counselors on the scene for students who may be emotionally triggered by the event. A graduate of Miami High School, Roman has worked on railroads, mines and the oil fields of Texas. All his street time has been in Globe, under the leadership of Chief Walters.
“No two days are the same,” he says. “Everything changes.”
It is an extremely busy agency, says Commander Haines. “If they’re not out on a call, they’re writing up reports.”
Currently, Globe PD is fully staffed but not fully deployable; some personnel are still being trained. More officers and staff live here than do not. Chief Waters would like to achieve 80% staffing (34-36), to allow for vacations and training without overtime.
“A lot of days when we’re going from call to call to call,” says Officer Hernandez. “If you need an extra person for a fight in progress, you can’t get that.”
He makes a point to end each day in normal conversation with someone getting coffee at Circle K.
“There are a lot of people who reach out,” adds Officer Hernandez. “ I’d like to see more of that. I would like everyone to see that we’re humans. We have feelings.”
Chief Walters puts an emphasis on hiring men and women that live in the area.
“When I started looking at people within the Gila County region that had longevity, they were from here,” he says.
Together with law enforcement from all over the region, Globe PD will support a 1-year academy at the Gila Pueblo Community College campus.
“We’ll work together to make it successful,” says Chief Walters.
All part of the “can-do” attitude he likes best about the community of Globe.
“Obviously, we have our critics,” says Commander Haines, “but for the large part we have an immense level of support for the department.”
A traveler, Patti Daley came to Globe in 2016 to face the heat, follow love, and find desert treasure. She writes in many formats and records travel scraps and other musings at daleywriting.com.