New Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista was the special guest for the Mesa Chamber of Commerce’s “Mesa Morning Live” September show to let the community get to know him better.
“I always wanted to be a police officer, since, I think my earliest recollection is 10 years old and got to live out my dream in Tucson for 31 and a half years,” Batista said. “I did everything that there was to do there with just really a couple of exceptions, but this is just an amazing opportunity that came up the first part of this year and I’m simply honored and blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of the community and to be a part of this really terrific organization at the city of Mesa and Mesa Police Department,” Batista said.
In response to a question about what challenges he had faced Batista said that having come “from just 100 miles away, the issues are the same and really what changes is the acronyms are different, but so none of it has surprised me.”
Batista added that he wanted to be here for the long haul, and expressed his love for Arizona.
Talking about crime in Mesa, Batista spoke about the program CompStat, where the district commanders talk to the bureau chief of patrol about what issues they are facing in their districts, with the goal being crime mitigation.
“They identify the crime trends and they figure out the strategies to address them and mitigate them,” Batista said. “And that is one of the great things about Mesa, is that I came from a community that experienced very high violent crime and although violent crime really shocks the conscience… what I love about Mesa and the organization and the process that they have is that they have a way of pinpointing that crime and getting to it and mitigating it as soon as possible.”
Batista made the point that his goals were to ensure accountability in his department, by discussing a ticket that he had received and how he expected to be treated to the same process that any other citizen might.
He also brought up that another goal for the department is to increase community outreach, and improve the perception of the department in the community.
“If we’re out and about, engage,” Batista said. “Talk to us.”
Batista said that he was pushing that message internally as well, and said that “every contact we have with the community matters.”
Also appearing on the Sept. 8 show were State Apprentice Program Lead for the Apprenticeship Arizona Employer Engagement Administration, Department of Economic Security William Higgins.
“The Department of Economic Security hosts an apprenticeship program along with 43 other programs for the state of Arizona.” he said.
According to Higgins, they have 142 registered programs in Arizona, catering to 32 registered apprenticeships.
“Construction, health care, IT business services, etc.,” Higgins said. “We just want to get out. I’m from here, Mesa; we’ve only got four programs in Mesa.”
He said the reason for him coming on to the show was that the government was trying to create more apprenticeship programs.
“I will work with Mesa Community College, and it’s the alternative to college,” Higgins said. “We don’t want everybody incurring that debt that so many people have incurred over the past few years, going through a four-year college. This is the complete alternative; we have some programs where students actually get an associate’s degree upon completion and they’re making six figures.”
He added that while not every program is the same, that there are a lot of lucrative apprenticeship programs.
Representatives of Ryan House, Executive Director Alyssa Crockett and Development Director Marghan Miller also appeared on the Sept. 8 show.
“Ryan House cares for Arizona’s most medically fragile children, and helps them navigate life-limiting or end-of-life journeys,” Crockett said. “So as our children who are diagnosed, maybe at birth or have suffered a traumatic incident are living longer lives because of these wonderful advances in medicine, Ryan House comes in and helps them live their best lives possible.”
Crockett added that Ryan House is community supported, with $3 milli
on from local businesses and “good folks like you.”
For more information about Mesa Morning Live, visit mesamorninglive.com.
– Mesa resident Kian Hagerman is a Mesa Community College journalism intern for MyNewsMesa.com.