QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. - Queen Creek launched a whole new police department in the middle of a national movement calling for changes to policing, but, it's not enforcing just yet as the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office remains the main law enforcement agency for at least a year and a half.
Police Chief Randy Brice has spent just days on the job as the department gets its bearings and goes through the transition process.
“It came down to basically, we’d move forward with the municipal police department. Went through the hiring process to find the chief at the very beginning, and here I am three days later," Brice said.
He spent 24 years with the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office and has been with the Gilbert Police Department since 2016.
“We plan to be a full-service department and have every aspect of law enforcement under our belt to make sure we’re giving the citizens what they need and what they’re asking for. There’s a lot of planning to go along with that," he said.
The police department is beginning at a unique time. The movement for social justice and police reform has echoed throughout the country since the death of George Floyd.
Those calls for police reform have echoed through Arizona as well.
“The great thing about what’s happening in the nation right now is that it brings forward that conversation. The opportunity to really address the needs of the nation but also here locally. Our focus here really is to connect with the community, listen, to really make those partnerships," Brice said.
In the next 18 months of developing the force, they hope that listening turns into a community police force. They’ll be housed where the sheriff's office already operates out of.
“I really think my vision is all about connection, friendship and being the type of organization that treats people with respect. We’ll have legitimacy in everything we do, and we’ll constantly work and do everything we do with kindness," Brice explained.
Learn more about the department and its transitional process here https://www.queencreek.org/government/departments/law-enforcement-public-safety