The Prescott Valley Police Department on Friday welcomed five newly graduated officers from Northern Arizona Regional Training Academy Class #48. Covid-19 forced a much smaller, but no less significant, celebration, as the five were sworn in by Chief Steven Roser.
The class of three female and two male officers was Chief Roser’s first since he took the department reins six months ago, and he couldn’t be prouder.
“We have a great recruit staff here,” he said. “They put in the time and effort to make sure that our community has the best and brightest in law enforcement. I’m excited to see these officers’ future.”
Another point of pride for Prescott Valley is that graduate Officer Sabrina Rozendaal earned three of the class’s four top honors – the Academic Award, the Top Gun marksmanship award, and the Tyler J. Stewart Honor Recruit Award, chosen by her peers for the recruit that best exemplifies the academy’s standards and the ideals of a police officer. The award is named after fallen Flagstaff Officer and NARTA graduate Tyler J. Stewart, who was killed in the line of duty in December 2014.
Rozendaal, who grew up in Chino Valley, said she enjoyed mock trials while she was in school, and thought she might like detective work. But she went in an entirely different direction, earning a degree in interior design. Then her husband Garrett became a Prescott Valley Police Officer.
“I got to see the relationships, the culture, and the teamwork (of law enforcement),” she said.
The biggest challenge of the NARTA Academy for her, Rozendaal said, was realizing the mental toughness needed for law enforcement. She said she was impressed by how her instructors shared their insights and wisdom.
Officer Michelle Woods grew up in Ontario, Calif., and said her life experiences to this point have led her to the opportunity to be a police officer. Recruits in the academy learn through scenarios, and the section on clearing buildings made an impression on Woods, giving her a motivation to learn more about crimes in progress.
Officer Sandra Vaccaro grew up in Colorado before moving to Chino Valley. She said she arrived at law enforcement as a profession through a strong need to help others and give back to her community. “I want a purpose in what I do every day,” she said.
A perfectionist, Vaccaro said her challenge in the academy was learning that things don’t always turn out the way they are supposed to, and that making mistakes is part of life. Her biggest impression through her training was the support she received from the NARTA staff. “They never lose faith in you,” she said.
Officer Tyler Skipper graduated the AAEC High School in Prescott Valley after growing up in the Tri-City area. He said he always planned to stay in the community.
He tried firefighting and emergency medical services, but found his niche in being a police officer. “It allows you to interact with the community on a daily, rather than a call-out, basis,” he said.
Skipper found the physical training to be his biggest challenge, but like the others of his class, he overcame. He found he loved the driver training portion of the academy.
Officer Damon Alvarado had some family influence to guide him toward a career in law enforcement. His father is a police lieutenant in Williams, and Alvarado served an internship there. When he decided to become a police officer, he researched agencies and heard that Prescott Valley is a good agency to work for.
Alvarado played college football, and that camaraderie attracted him. He also said he wanted to make connections in his life with people who are “self-motivated, self-driven, and integrity based.” Making a difference and helping people are goals for his law enforcement career.
The more he and his classmates advanced in the NARTA academy, Alvarado said, the more he began to see how a group of individuals who didn’t know each other at the beginning could work together through the weeks to achieve the same goal. “They are now lifelong friends,” he said. “They may be with different departments, but we are all on the same team.”
Alvarado’s next statement could have come from any of these five outstanding new officers.
“There’s all the opportunity in the world here. I’m proud to be here, and to be an officer with the Town of Prescott Valley.”