By Naomi Hatch –
“This is an item that I’m really excited about,” said Snowflake-Taylor Police Chief Jerry VanWinkle at the Tuesday, April 24, Snowflake Town Council meeting.
Chief VanWinkle was requesting approval to enter into an intergovernmental agreement for Northeastern Arizona Law Enforcement Training Academy (NALETA) to provide Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training (AZPOST) to students who meet AZPOST qualifications and are sponsored by a law enforcement agency.
Chief VanWinkle explained that entering into this IGA will allow law enforcement agencies to partner with Northland Pioneer College (NPC) and the Northern Arizona Training Center (NATC) to provide an 11-month academy comprised of part-time classes held Tuesday and Thursday evenings and all day Saturday so cadets can become certified officers in the State of Arizona while still working.
Upon completion of NALETA cadets could be hired into full time positions or as a reserve officer.
“This also creates a pool within our region to pick from when a full time position comes open,” explained Chief VanWinkle.
Currently, STPD pays to send a cadet to the full-time 17-week academy for training.
“It usually takes us between eight to ten months from the time we hire somebody to the time we get them out on the road,” VanWinkle said.
Approval of the IGA will authorize STPD to participate in the academy and enable them to send cadets they select to the academy.
“In trade-off, we will provide the training for the center,” said Chief VanWinkle noting “All law enforcement agencies will provide the trainers.”
Qualified instructors will be provided through participating cities, towns and county law enforcement agencies with compensation to instructors being the responsibility of that entity. There will be a cost for each cadet to be paid by the cadet, with STPD paying for such things as background checks.
The council unanimously authorized entering into an IGA for the Northeastern Arizona Law Enforcement Training Academy in providing law enforcement training to recruit officers.
In other business the council unanimously approved authorizing Chief VanWinkle to commit the jurisdiction of Snowflake to participate in the Arizona Mutual Aid Compact.
The purpose of the compact is to define the participating parties and the emergency management terms and procedures, which will be used among participating parties for dispatching mutual aid assistance to any affected area in accordance with local ordinances, resolutions, emergency plans or agreements. Chief VanWinkle said this is based upon A.R.S.§ 26-308, which provides that each county and incorporated city and town of the state may appropriate and expend funds, make contracts and obtain and distribute equipment, materials and supplies for emergency management purposes.
Chief VanWinkle explained that the scope of the compact is to provide the procedures to notify the providing parties of the need for emergency assistance, to identify available resources and to provide a mechanism for compensation for resources. He noted that when Snowflake-Taylor Police Department was called to help with the Wallow Fire they found they did not have a mutual aid compact, however they were able to get an emergency agreement allowing seven to eight officers to be sent to the Wallow Fire on their days off so the department was maintained. Officers were paid through the compact at an overtime rate.
Council members also unanimously approved improvements to the impound yard behind the police station. VanWinkle explained that STPD is currently working on a project to improve the yard, which is used for the impounding of vehicles for evidentiary purposes and drop off and loading of prisoners. They will extend the yard by 4 feet and install a rolling automatic entry gate as well as privacy slats to keep the area secure. The chief told the council he had one bid of approximately $15,000, and was asked to get two more bids if possible.