Police department leaders from the cities of El Mirage, Peoria and Surprise came together with members from the 56th Security Forces Squadron to sign the Emergency Vehicle Operators Course Memorandum of Understanding at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., Jan. 10, 2018.
The memorandum allows the local police departments, in conjunction with 56th SFS members, to continue to train and use various facilities and resources at Luke.
“This is a big agreement for West Valley agencies,” said Terry Young, Surprise Police Department police chief. “Every year in public safety, we see an increase for the needs of training, and it can be difficult to balance resources with requirements. Luke is a perfect example of the strength we have with our state and federal partners not just in the valley, but the state of Arizona.”
Members from Luke will provide the space to perform training, while the local departments will provide the vehicles and instructors. The additional vehicle training requirements create for both Airmen and local police officers a win-win situation.
“This is great enhanced training to make our Airmen even better at their jobs,” said Valerie Berube, 56th Mission Support Group private-public partnerships director. “Not every Air Force base has access to a partnership like this one. The local community saves money by not having to allocate training to another course, and we are able to improve our Airmen’s skills. It’s a positive relationship for the both of us.”
Before training began at Luke, the departments of El Mirage, Peoria and Surprise seeking to qualify their officers in EVOC, struggled to find an adequate location for proper training procedures.
A parking lot at the north end of the runway, where the course takes place, provides the required area for participants to maneuver their vehicles through various obstacles as part of high speed pursuit, avoidance and other forms of vehicle training.
“We are looking forward to expanding our role with Luke Air Force Base in the future,” said Bill Long, El Mirage Police Department interim police chief. “This location is much more attractive for each department involved and will help save time and resources.”
It is a priority of the 56th Fighter Wing to focus on culture with a campaign mindset and continue to build positive relationships with the communities in the surrounding area.
“Sharing resources with the Air Force extends beyond training aspects,” said Benny Pina, Peoria Police Department deputy chief. “Working in a collaborative environment, we are making our communities stronger through the sharing of intelligence, solving crimes and training our forces.”