Thank you Mesa, Arizona Police ~ I’ve Got Your 6June 8, 2020
I approached the two officers standing outside Mesa, Arizona Police Department today with a smile, a “Thank You” card and a sincere, “Thank you guys for your service. Here’s a little something to share with your fellow officers.” There was no ceremony, no parade with a marching band and no bag of donuts (although I will feel better about bringing several dozen when this whole pandemic nonsense is over).
There’s not very much in the way of gratitude being distributed to the men and women in blue these days. I would wager some of my retirement cash that my “Thank You” card will probably not have a lot of company on the break room bulletin board. But that’s exactly the reason I took some time to show a little gratitude to those who “Protect and Serve.”
The Mesa Police Department employs 1,212 law enforcement officers with Chief Ken Cost overseeing a command staff with over 350 years of combined law enforcement experience.
Police Chief Ken Cost has been with the Mesa Police Department for nearly 25 years. Prior to joining the Mesa Police Department, he was a sworn investigator for almost two years with the State of California in East Los Angeles.
Chief Cost has served in several areas of the department and in every rank leading up to assistant chief. These assignments include: Patrol, Bicycle Unit, Special Investigations-Gang Unit, Community Action Team, Street Crimes, Violent Offender-US Marshal’s Task Force and Criminal Investigations (Homicide, Financial Crimes, and Recovered Property). As a Commander his assignments included Fiesta Patrol, Human Resources and Training.
From AZfamily.com, March 2020: “The enthusiasm about hiring Ken Cost as our police Chief, I can assure you, is very genuine and very sincere,” said Mayor John Giles.
The new chief holds a degree in criminal justice from California State University at Fullerton. He also is a graduate of the FBI National Academy for Police Executives and was wrapping up his master’s degree in criminal justice administration.
City manager Chris Brady says there was never a national search to fill the position, and that Cost stood out above the crowd long ago.
“Ken Cost was our man from the beginning,” he said. “We just wanted to give him an opportunity to demonstrate his skills and he did an excellent, excellent job.”
Police Department Air Support Unit (Falcon Field Airport)
The Mesa Police Department’s Air Support Unit began as a fixed-wing only program in 1986 on a part-time basis. During the initial startup of the Air Support Unit, qualified rated pilots from within the department supplied transportation and surveillance services. Today the Air Support Unit utilizes Certificated Flight Instructors within the unit to train new pilot candidates and maintain pilot currencies and proficiency checks in accordance with FAA regulations.
In January of 1994 the department leased two McDonnell Douglas 500E turbine helicopters and the Aviation Section began full-time operations. The helicopters were eventually purchased by the department. A third MD500E helicopter was added to the fleet in May 2003. Since 1994, the section has flown nearly 50,000 Accident/Incident free flight hours.
Currently the Unit operates two fixed-wing aircraft: a Cessna 172N Skyhawk and a Cessna P210 Centurion. The Cessna Centurion’s primary roles are to provide aerial surveillance, conduct large-area searches and various transport services. The Cessna 172N Skyhawk is utilized for primary pilot training, currency and patrol functions, when needed.
End of Watch: May 12, 2014
Sergeant Brandon Mendoza was killed on his way home from work on May 12, 2014, when his car was hit head-on on the freeway by a driver going the wrong way. There were many calls to 911 regarding this wrong-way driver who traveled 30+ miles and four freeways. The driver was killed instantly; Sergeant Mendoza was rushed to hospital where he died a few hours later.
Sergeant Mendoza began his association with the Mesa Police Department as one of our police Explorers. He then became an Animal Control Officer before entering the academy and becoming a police officer of 13 years. Prior to his death, he had recently completed and passed his sergeants exam. The promotion was done posthumously the evening before his funeral service.
Sgt. Mendoza is survived by his family — parents, two brothers and a sister and their families, grandparents, nieces & nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Easy criticisms can be made of every institution and organization in the country and the nature of policing will often magnify the mistakes and cracks in the law enforcement system, making it easy to expose officer misconduct. But if you’ve never worn a blue uniform it is difficult to fully appreciate the challenge that is faced every time you 10–41 & 10–8 with the Dispatch Officer.
Think about what it takes to begin a day with a badge, a ballistic vest and a utility belt. If on night shift you stop a car with a headlight out, not knowing if a frantic “shots fired” will have to be keyed on your radio. If your next call from dispatch reports a traffic crash with injuries and entrapment, you wonder if you’ll be first on-scene, hopeful that EMS is already there taking care of the injured. Even if your entire watch is merely cruising an assigned area looking for disturbances, traffic violators or suspicious groups of people, you never know when that humdrum afternoon will turn without warning into an episode of life-or-death.
Again … Thank You Mesa Police Department, for all you do.
Signed: a grateful citizen