As a part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month events that took place in October, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community youth who participate in the Youth Services program wanted to thank those involved in law enforcement in the Community, including the police and fire departments and the prosecutor’s office, for all they do to ensure the safety of the Community.
In the health class she leads for the youth, Vurlene Notsinneh-Bowekaty, health educator with SRPMIC Health and Human Services, discusses more than healthy living. The class also deals with bullying and how youth can protect themselves if they witness dangerous activities.
“A lot of times the youth witness things in the homes or in the Community that has to deal with police being involved and they at many times get the wrong idea about the officers and their work in a negative way,” shared Notsinneh-Bowekaty. “But in reality they know you [Police and Firefighters] are here to protect us.”
Youth presented the staff with poster boards that read ‘thank you for your service,’ the youth handed each poster to each of the departments as well as saying thank you to them.
SRPMIC Chief Prosecutor Jeff Harmon spoke with the youth and discussed his position in the Community as prosecutor. “My job requires me to be in court all the time for people who violate the laws or when the police have an issue, they send me their way and then we have a court process and we also give people help if they need any or help if they have issues.
Chief Melvin of the SRPMIC Police Department spoke about his job at the police department and how he is the boss of all the police. “We protect and we serve everyone in the Community,” said Melvin. “We have over 150 police officers working every single day and night of the week, when you go to school we are working and when you are asleep we are still working. We have fun doing what we do which is protecting the Community.”
Assistant Chief of Police Karl Auerbach, who was also present, said, “We are a Public Safety Team here.” Auerbach also asked the youth if they knew what to do in case of an emergency, youth raised their hands and said call 911, he reminded them the number is only used for emergencies.
SRPMIC Battalion Chief Keven Makil discussed how the fire department serves and helps people even on their worst day of the year, “like Chief Melvin said, we too work 24 hours a day every day even on the holidays and on our birthdays. We go out to the schools and talk to kids and even do programs with adults and seniors on safety.”
Curious youth also had questions and had the opportunity to be able to ask each staff member on their jobs.
“It’s neat on my part to be able to be working with the departments as well as well as helping with the youth in becoming progressive in the Community by working with Youth Services,” said Denice Fitchie Youth Services director. “I would also like to give thanks for all that you do with the department.”
The presentation ended with cake that read thank you in big letters as well as Hi-C Fruit punch and mingling.