Parker’s new Police Chief, Michael Bailey, stopped by the Parker Pioneer June 25 for an interview. He shared his thoughts with where the department is and where he would like to see it go in the future.
Bailey had been Interim Chief following the retirement of former Chief Clay Romo at the end of April. He was officially promoted to the permanent job by the Parker Town Council at their June 2 meeting.
“He was the obvious choice,” Town Manager Lori Wedemeyer said. “I have worked well with him and it will be a great transition.”
Bailey is a 14-year veteran of the department. He graduated from the Arizona Department of Public Safety Academy in 2005 and started with the Parker PD as a patrol officer in January 2006. He was promoted to Sergeant in April 2015 and to Lieutenant is September 2018.
Among his many duties with the Parker PD, he was school resource officer in 2007 and was also a K-9 officer for a year.
Bailey is from the area. He is a 2000 graduate of Yuma High School.
Among his community activities is the La Paz County Youth Livestock Committee. Bailey serves as President and is a voting member of the board.
One of the things he said he plans to emphasize for the Parker PD is training. He’d like to bring training in all aspects of law enforcement to Parker for all the agencies in the area.
“I’m big on training,” he said. “You can never have enough training. We need to keep up with it.”
Bailey said one of the unique things about the Parker PD is how many of the officers were raised in Parker or have spent a lot of time here. He said that, aside from himself and one other officer, the department’s officers were all raised in Parker. He said the culture of the department reflects the culture of the community.
“We have people who have been here for 20 years or more,” he said. “They have strong ties to this area. They’re in tune with the specific uniqueness of this area. Many of them want to give back to the community.”
Many of the officers are involved with youth and the community, Bailey said.
In recent months, there have been calls for defunding police departments and removing officers from schools. Bailey said this is not the answer. He said officers in the schools help bridge the gap between youth and the police.
“This is the best interaction kids will have with law enforcement,” Bailey said. “Officers in the schools can serve as mentors and role models. It gives them a positive look at law enforcement.”
Bailey said he is looking forward to serving the community as their police chief.
“I’m really glad to have this opportunity,” he said.