By Scottsdale Mayor David D. Ortega

Dear Scottsdale Families,
At 11:15 p.m. I was having coffee with two police officers at the Chuck Box on Shea, when their radio alarms simultaneously blared. We ran to the patrol car, I jumped in the backseat “cage” and was told, “Buckle up!”

When we switched over to Pima Road the desert landscape swept by, as the cruiser raced at 90 mph with all flashers on. The so called “rock burglar” had been burglarizing homes near arroyos in the northern part of Scottsdale. The Scottsdale Police Department (SPD) had set a trap to catch the culprit—and I just happened to be on the ride-along that night.

The residents were away when the officers found the telltale shattered glass, off the side patio door. They pointed a flashlight at the sandy desert soil and there were boot footprints. It was a moonlit night as the MSO helicopter orbited the area and the forensic team arrived to plaster-cast the evidence.

I heard that the chopper’s infrared cameras detected a hot engine vehicle in the distance. Later, with all the activity, I barely noticed the early dawn light. The fresh desert air faded as we drove back. By the way, this incident happened before the Loop 101 existed.
Scottsdale public safety has always been our highest priority. Quality of life and safe neighborhoods are two key attributes of our city. Your neighborhood is our priority and community-wide communication with city public safety officials, HOA cooperation with local law enforcement, and participation in a neighborhood watch program are vitally important to keep our city safe.

The Scottsdale Police are ever vigilant and as mayor and with the support of council, SPD will always have the funding for tools, technology, training, and most of all, have earned our trust.

Scottsdale Police Chief Jeff Walther says it best: “Strong community-police partnerships are paramount to the health, safety, and welfare of our amazing, vibrant city. As the police chief, I am committed to leveraging the latest technology, employing the very best policing practices, prioritizing public collaboration, and engaging in strategic, long-term planning to realize ongoing success guided by our mission statement: As part of our community, we are united in purpose and selfless in action to ensure a safe Scottsdale.”

Our police department can help you start a neighborhood watch program where neighbors look out for neighbors, or you can sign-up for the Scottsdale Police Citizens’ Academy for an in-depth look at how the department operates. Other community programs include the Scottsdale Public Safety Teen Academy for ages 14 through 18, geared toward teaching young people about careers in police and fire. We also offer the Scottsdale Police Cadet Program for young people ages 14 to 21, which offers hands on law enforcement related learning opportunities.

In addition to our internationally accredited police department, Scottsdale is home to one of the finest fire departments in the nation. We are currently in the process of setting up a new ambulance division in our fire department. The new ambulance service will roll out in phases starting this year and eventually serve our entire city, which will create more efficient emergency response operations and give us the ability to move at faster rates. Currently Scottsdale utilizes the services of a third-party contractor for ambulance service. The fire department expects to have the ambulance division fully operational within three years.

Scottsdale Fire also values a strong relationship with the community. The department offers various community programs, including CPR, first aid, and safety classes. To learn more about emergency operations and life-saving skills go to
Returning to the rock burglar caper, Scottsdale police cracked the case with DNA evidence gathered from the rock. Of course, the car was impounded, the burglar was tracked down, months later found guilty and served time.

This letter would not be complete without mentioning the rash of Valley-wide “dinnertime” burglaries involving a Chilean cartel. Since the criminal case is on-going, only information published by the SPD communications office is publicly known. Many neighbors witnessed that SPD utilized drones, high-tech detection and other means to apprehend the suspects.

One resident told me that the suspect laid low between his house and his neighbor’s wall. The neighbor, a former member of SEAL Team 6, broke out his night vision goggles. However, because our police “locked down” the area, and stayed for 12 hours, eventually the suspect flushed and was apprehended. Join me to thank the Scottsdale police men and women who protect and serve us.

Until next time, stay safe!


David D. Ortega is a professional architect, 45 year resident of Scottsdale, and serves as the mayor of Scottsdale.