Tag Archives: updates

District 2 Update – December 2018

The New Year is right around the corner, and with the holiday season comes lots of time with family, friends, and loved ones. Please try and visit one (or all!) of the many incredible activities planned in the city.

Surprise Party – December 1st, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at Surprise Recreation Campus

Live music by SMASHED, Car show, arts and crafts festival, pony and camel rides, roaming entertainment, petting zoo, great food and more! Admission is free with a canned food or toy donation to benefit Sanderson Ford Operation Santa!

Lunchtime Theater – ProMusica Holiday Concert – December 6th, 12 – 1 p.m. at Arts HQ

The Women in Song vocal ensemble and accompanist perform your favorite holiday songs! For reservations call 623.584.2626.

Tech the Halls Holiday Open House – December 6th, 5 – 7 p.m. at the AZ Techcelerator

The AZ TechCelerator’s 3rd Annual “Tech the Halls” Holiday Open House, showcasing the groundbreaking tech evolving at the business incubator, will open to the public from 5–7 p.m., on Thursday, Dec. 6 at the AZ TechCelerator campus.

AZ Humanities – Dauntless Courage and Boundless Ambition: The Life of Buckey O’Neill – December 12th, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers

Speaker: Kevin Schindler
Buckey O’Neill was one of Arizona’s legendary pioneers, even author William MacLeod Raine called him “the most many-sided man Arizona has produced”. Before dying in Cuba while serving as one of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, O’Neill made his mark in Arizona as a newspaper editor, sheriff, mayor, and prospector, among other professions. Whether chasing train robbers across the Arizona’s frontier, promoting the Grand Canyon as a tourist destination, or reforming education practices while serving as school superintendent, he lived with an eye toward helping Arizona mature from an untamed western territory to a creditable state.

Sunday in the Park – December 16th, 12 – 4 p.m. at Surprise Stadium

Bring the whole family to enjoy live music by Dirt Road Kings and a selection of food trucks. The best part is that admission is free!

Poetry Slam – December 21st, 6 – 8 p.m. at WHAM

This event features open mic night for poetry, free verse, and storytelling! All are welcome to participate as performers and/or listeners. Any established or original pieces may be read. This is a free event and open to the public! No registration required.

I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome back our winter visitors and remind you all of the distracted driving ordinance that went into effect a few months back. The ordinance makes it illegal to use a mobile communication device – such as a cell phone – while driving, UNLESS it is in hands-free mode, or the driver is contacting emergency personnel for emergency reasons. Under the law, violators will be subject to a $250 fine when cited by officers. This is another friendly reminder to be safe on the roads and to Drive Wise, Surprise!

Please note that City offices will be closed December 25th in observance of Christmas Day. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season, and a happy new year!

District 2 Update – October 2018

I’d like to begin this month’s message by thanking the voters of Surprise for participating in the August Primary Election. Every vote matters and I hope you realize that.

I encourage everyone to educate themselves on who is running and what is being placed on the ballot, in order to make an informed vote for the November 6th General Election. To view all of the ballot issues visit https://azsos.gov/elections/2018-publicity-pamphlet.

If you’re not already registered to vote, registration forms can be found at Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) Offices, the Post Office, or in the Clerk’s Office at Surprise City Hall. Voter registration deadline is 29 days before Election Day, which in the case of the General Election would be midnight, October 9th. If you would like to check the status of your records, I encourage you to call the Maricopa County Recorder’s office at (602) 506-1511.

On a non-election topic, I feel it important to inform Sun City Grand residents about a potential change in water utility rates through EPCOR. The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) has ordered EPCOR to either keep their 11 water districts separate, or consolidate them into one district. Consolidation would allow for consistent rates across the board and would produce cost savings for EPCOR, which would translate to us, the customer. If the consolidation happens, our rates will see a slight increase initially, then decrease over the next 5 years, ultimately landing at a rate consistent with the remaining water districts through EPCOR; based the average water consumption of 7,000 gallons with ¾ inch pipe, that would be $41.45 monthly at the end of the 5th year. Based on the same calculations, if the districts remain separate then our monthly rate would average $47.01. As of this writing, a decision has not been finalized, but if you would like to view more information on EPCOR’s rate consolidation case, please visit www.epcor.com/waterconsolidation.

I also remind you this is the time of year when the temperatures cool and our city has so many fun outdoor activities planned for you, your family and friends to enjoy!

  • Come cheer on our Ottawa University (OUAZ) football team at Spirit Field in the Civic Center Complex. Support your local team! The October home games are scheduled for October 6 vs. Arizona Christian and October 13 vs. Texas College. Game times are 7 p.m.
  • Our signature street-festival, Surprise Fiesta Grande, kicks off on October 13! Enjoy live music, food trucks and more from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. next to our Senior Center on Hollyhock Street.
  • The Sunday in the Park Food Truck Festival at Mark Coronado Park is October 21 from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Our Arts Scene lights up this fall with a public arts bus tour, Sunset Theater, Lunchtime Theater performances and Wham’s Poetry Slam all set for this month. Get the details at surpriseaz.gov/arts.

And finally as our new distracted driving ordinance goes into effect, please remember to obey all traffic rules, drive safely and stay vigilant as more traffic will be in our neighborhoods and on our city streets as we welcome our Winter Visitors!

District 2 Update – August 2018

As the month of August gets underway, temperatures remain high, and so does the temptation to lounge by the poolside or take a dip in the nearest lake. Here in Arizona, it is so easy to take for granted the luxury of relaxing by the water, that we may forget how easy it is for a child to slip into a pool unnoticed. Whether stepping inside the house to grab a towel, walking away from the lake shore to grab a drink from the cooler, or paying too much attention to what’s on our cell phone, we must not forget to take proper steps to adequately supervise children around any body of water.

Since 2004, August has been designated as Drowning Impact Awareness Month in Arizona. Each year, the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona partner with local cities and the Governor’s office to promote awareness for drowning prevention and water safety practices. According to the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona website, June, July, and August are peak times for child drownings in Arizona, however back to school distractions in August make it a high risk month for child drowning. Although child drownings are nearly 100% preventable, they continue to be a top cause of injury and death for children in Arizona. In fact, between 2010 and 2015, drowning was the leading cause of death among children aged 1-4 years old. This is an alarming statistic that I hope to see decline in the immediate future.

For the past few years, Mayor Wolcott has proclaimed August as Drowning Impact Awareness Month in the City of Surprise. This year, the proclamation will be read aloud and presented to the city’s Fire Department at the August 7th City Council meeting. To provide more opportunities for water safety, the City is also offering free beginner group swim lessons for 3-5 year olds thanks to a sponsorship with Surprise Firefighter Charities. There are two sessions in August; session 1 takes place from the 6th to the 16th, and session 2 takes place from the 20th to the 30th. Group lessons for ages 6 & up, as well as private lessons for all ages are also available. Fees for Surprise residents start at only $25! For more information, call the Surprise Aquatic Center at (623) 222-2500. Space is limited and fills up fast, so call today!

Salt River Project (SRP) provides a fantastic opportunity for families with young children who have pools in their backyards. Thanks to a partnership with United Phoenix Fire Union Charities, SRP provides free pool fences to families who have one or more children aged 6 and under living in the home, and meet specific income requirements. Details and the application can be found on SRP’s website, https://www.srpnet.com/safety/home/poolfence.aspx.

In closing, I want to leave you with this great tip, which you will see on all Drowning Impact Awareness Month literature: To prevent child drownings, follow the ABC’s of Water Safety – Adult supervision when children have access to water, Barriers between children and water, and Classes in CPR for adults, swimming lessons for children at the appropriate age. You’ve probably heard it before, but taking your eyes off of a child for just two seconds can mean the difference between life and death. As always, I am happy to speak more about this topic. Please give me a call at (623) 222-1322, or email me at Nancy.Hayden@surpriseaz.gov.

D2 July News Update

District Meetings

Every year, the Surprise City Council takes a month-long recess in July, with regular meetings resuming the first Tuesday in August (August 7th). Although we will not be meeting this month, I encourage you to stay engaged! Give me a call at (623) 222-1322, or send me an email at Nancy.Hayden@surpriseaz.gov. I would also love to speak with you in-person at one of my district meetings – either the 2nd Wednesday from 10-11 a.m. at Arizona Traditions Neighborhood Center (July 11th), or the 4th Tuesday from 10-11 a.m. at the Sun City Grand Palm Center, Mediterranean Room (July 24th).

Upcoming Events

I want to take this opportunity to share some of the exciting events the City will be hosting this week. The 35th Annual Fourth of July Celebration will be held this Wednesday, July 4th at the Surprise Stadium, 15850 N. Bullard Avenue. Come by and watch a rookie league baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Texas Rangers, with gates opening at 4:30 p.m. and the first pitch at 5:30 p.m. After the game, stick around to view the 20 minute firework show! Admission to the game is free, but canned food donations are encouraged. If you prefer to skip the game and just enjoy the fireworks, Mark Coronado Park will be open to the public for live music and lawn seating at 6:00 p.m. The park is located just north of the stadium, at 15960 N. Bullard Avenue.

Additionally, the City is hosting the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall, a half-size replica of the Washington, D.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial, from July 5th to July 9th at Mark Coronado Park. The replica wall was created so that people who cannot travel to DC, can still share in this special way of honoring and remembering the sacrifice of our Vietnam service members. The wall is engraved with more than 58,000 names of killed or missing Vietnam service men and women. This event is free to the public, and will be open 24 hours for viewing. Directory books will be available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The schedule is as follows:

July 5, 9:00 a.m.
The Moving Wall Opens to Public

July 6, 6:00 a.m.
Welcome Ceremony

July 9, 6:00 a.m.
Closing Ceremony

July 9, 12:00 p.m.
The Moving Wall Closes

Independence Day Schedule Changes

City of Surprise administrative offices will be closed Wednesday, July 4 for Independence Day. Due to the holiday, City of Surprise trash and recycling customers ONLY are reminded that there will be a modified collection schedule that week. Monday and Tuesday pickup will not be affected. Wednesday collection will occur on Thursday, July 5; Thursday collection will occur on Friday, July 6. Please note that not all City of Surprise residents are City of Surprise trash and recycling customers, and as such, may not experience a change in pickup service. Please check with your service provider. For questions about the trash and recycling schedule, please call 623.222.1900.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Be Heat Safe as Temperatures Rise

Things are heating up in Surprise- literally! With the summer season approaching, extreme heat is an ever-present issue. Each year, 30-50 Arizonans die due to summer heat. A large proportion of those deaths are among the elderly, aged 65 and over. Additionally, individuals with heart disease or high blood pressure pose a high risk for heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.

It is also noteworthy that certain medications can potentially cause adverse health effects during excessive heat events. Those medications include:

  • Anticholinergics – Antihistamines such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and Vistaril (hydroxyzine); Parkinsonism meds; Atropine/scopolamine; Belladonna alkaloids; Neuroleptics; and Antispasmodics
  • Stimulants – Ephedrine/pseudoephedrine and Dietary agents such as ma huang
  • Neuroleptics (antipsychotic) – Phenothiazines such as Mellaril (thioridazine), Thorazine, (chlorpromazine), promethazine, and prochlorperazine; Thioxanthenes such as chlorprothixene and Novane (thiothixene); and Butyrophenones such as haloperidol
  • Other – Lithium

In an effort to combat these statistics, the City of Surprise joined the Heat Relief Network, which provides hydration and cooling off stations with the ultimate goal of preventing heat-related deaths. The following cooling stations are open to anyone in need of relief from the heat:

Surprise Resource Center – 12425 W Bell Road Building A, Suite 124; and
Surprise Fire-Medical Station #301 (FS 301) – 16750 N Village Drive East

It is also important this time of year to have your air conditioning units inspected and repaired as-needed to ensure they function properly for the duration of the summer season. In the unfortunate event that your unit fails during the summertime, and you are unable to get a repairman out right away, please visit one of the cooling stations mentioned above to beat the heat.

Additionally, in the event of a power outage, APS can be reached at 1 (800) 240-2014. In the event of a medical emergency, dial 911, or for a non-emergency please call (623) 222-5000 for Surprise Fire-Medical.

Of course, the cooling and hydration stations could not be made possible without your help! You can assist those in need of relief by donating water bottles, sun screen, sun glasses and hats at either of the heat relief locations.

Finally, as a reminder, never leave children or pets unattended in your vehicle. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash related fatalities for children 14 and younger. A child’s temperature heats up 3 to 5 times faster than that of an adult’s and when a child’s body temperature reaches 107 degrees, they die. Be mindful when you transport children in the car and be sure to call 911 if you do see a child alone in a vehicle.

As always, I am here for you should you have any questions. Send me a message at Nancy.Hayden@surpriseaz.gov, or give me a call at (623) 222-1422. Have a safe and wonderful summer!

District 2 Update – May 2018

Hello, fellow neighbors!

As we approach the Summer season and our Winter residents head for cooler weather, I’d like to remind you all to stay engaged with what’s happening here on the home front. We have two very important elections coming up, so I want to be sure you have the most current information.

Circle City Water Acquisition

This month, registered voters will have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote on a way to increase our surface river water allocations to meet future needs.

In support of the City Council’s Strategic Plan goal to “Ensure sufficient water resources for current and future needs,” Council, in November, approved a Special Ballot-by-Mail Election on May 15, in which Surprise voters will decide whether or not to authorize the purchase and acquisition of Circle City Water Company.

Circle City Water Company is a small water service company in the northern part of Surprise’s planning area and future water service area. Circle City Water serves approximately 170 customers.

In addition to the company’s existing customer base, Circle City also has a Central Arizona Project (CAP) subcontract that would increase the City’s current CAP allocation of Colorado River water (Surface Water) by more than 38 percent.

If approved, the purchase would be funded through the sale of current and future water portfolio assets. As a reminder, Sun City Grand’s water provider is EPCOR and the city only manages the sewer portion of our water bill. Should voters approve the purchase and acquisition of Circle City Water, we will grow our surface water portfolio, which means we can service more people as the city grows.

Don’t forget, replacement ballot voting begins on May 5th. More information about this Special Election can be found at www.surpriseaz.gov/waterelection, or by contacting the Water Resources Management Department at (623) 222-7100.

City Council Primary & General Elections

Five Council seats are up for election this year. Now more than ever, your vote can make a huge difference! The offices to be filled are as follows:

Three Council Seats with 4-year terms expiring in 2022: District 1 (Acacia), 5 (Palm), and 6 (Palo Verde).

Two Council Seat with a 2-year term expiring December 2020: District 3 (Mesquite) due to resignation in 2017, and District 2 (Cottonwood) to fill the remainder of a term left vacant due to the passing of my dear husband and your former Councilman, Jim Hayden, in 2017.

The deadline for voter registration is Monday, July 30th. If you are unsure of your registration status, visit www.maricopa.vote. Registration is also available in-person at the Surprise City Clerk’s Office Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Primary Election takes place Tuesday, August 28th, followed by a General Election (if necessary) on Tuesday, November 6th.

Stay In Touch!

As always, if you need to reach me, I can be contacted via email at nancy.hayden@surpriseaz.gov, by phone at (623) 222-1322, or through social media on Twitter @CM_Hayden or on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/councilwomanhayden. To our Winter residents, I encourage you to reach out to me if you want to know what’s happening here in Surprise while you’re away. To our year-round residents, I look forward to toughing out the heat with you!

Emergency response in a growing city can be challenging

Over the last few months, several meetings were held to discuss the city’s FY18 budget and its priorities. After many discussions, City Manager Bob Wingenroth presented his Recommended Budget which is scheduled for approval this month. These budgets discussions marked my first as an elected official in Surprise. With that being said, maintaining current services and protecting our residents is my priority.

When I reflect on the protection of our residents, public safety comes to mind. One of the key aspects of public safety is to save lives and protect property. In order to accomplish this, we need to ensure our response times to these incidents are more than sufficient. As an elected official, I have an obligation to the citizens of the city to make sure we can adequately protect our residents in the event emergency and fire services are needed. Having spent most of my career with the Glendale Fire Department, I focus on response times. When lives and property are at risk, every second of the emergency response cycle counts.

Response to medical emergencies is constantly evolving. Science is becoming more and more sophisticated. The more we learn, the more it changes. Paramedicine has certainly contributed to quicker and more efficient responses as has telemedicine. For example, telemedicine utilizes technology that has significantly changed how EMS providers perform care. Ambulances and fire apparatuses can now carry advanced diagnostic equipment that has become more portable and more affordable. EKG monitors perform and transmit 12-leads, record vital signs, and measure carbon dioxide levels in expired air and carbon monoxide levels in blood.

Even with all of the enhancements listed above, response times and resource management remains a complex part of service delivery. The time of day, street networks and traffic planning are all items that have a large impact on the response times.

The City of Surprise currently has seven fire stations, all of which provide for Advanced Life Support (ALS) via Fire Engines and Ladder Trucks. This delivery model has proven to be very effective and ensures that the crews are always ready for whatever call comes up. All trucks are equipped with GPS devices that report their location to the Phoenix Fire dispatch center. Phoenix Fire is then able to determine the closest unit to the call and sends them to help reduce response times. This process ensures all resources are being used in the most efficient manner. Unfortunately, if there are multiple or stacked calls for service in a specific areas of the city, units are sent over to help cover those calls. This situation is what causes response times to become extended. Here is an example:

If a call for service comes out in the southeast corner of the city, currently there is no fire station there to cover that call. This call is routed to the closest unit; a majority of the time this is Fire Station (FS) 305, near Surprise Stadium. When FS305 gets that call their area is left uncovered. Any call for service in that area is now served by neighboring fire stations such as Fire Station 306 located at 16645 W. Clearview Boulevard. This means that the response to a current call in Fire Station 305’s first due will be extended. In addition, any call that takes place in Fire Station 306’s first due while they are out will also be extended because it is being back filled with a unit outside of that area.

The Surprise Fire Medical Department (SFMD) has a goal to be at your door step within 6 minutes of the call for service 90% of the time. With this goal in mind you can see why calls for service in uncovered areas can cause the entire system to underperform. According to the American Heart Association, every minute after cardiac arrest and no advanced care (AED & CPR), the chance of survival decreases by 10%. After 10 minutes the chances of survival is very poor.

Surprise continues to grow which means more demand on all of our services, including public safety. It is imperative that we continue to serve our residents adequately and ensure their safety is our first and foremost concern.

Luke Air Force Base Community Partnership

Earlier this year, Mayor Sharon Wolcott appointed me to Luke West Valley Council. As an Air Force Veteran myself, it is certainly an honor and a privilege to be part of this group. Luke West Valley Council promotes Luke Air Force Base as well as the F-35 Lightning II Fighter Jet pilot-training program and the continuation of their F-16 training mission.

When I left Vietnam, I was asked to list my stateside choices. Luke and Williams Air Force bases were my choices and I was assigned to Luke AFB in 1964. My military records had indicated that I had been involved in counter insurgency and while that was incorrect, it allowed me extra time on the Base. I remained at Luke until 1969 where afterwards, I was transferred to the Philippines on a two year accompany assignment. I returned to Luke AFB on a retirement assignment in 1974 so it is fair to say, I consider Luke my home.

Luke West Valley was formed in the 1980s to build regional and community support for Luke’s success in the region. The group is comprised of Luke AFB officials, elected leaders from 12 West Valley cities and Maricopa County, as well as representatives from Sun City and Sun City West. Its purpose is to discuss and address community issues, challenges and successes concerning Luke activities.

Members of Luke West Valley Council at Goodyear Ballpark.
Members of Luke West Valley Council with Brig. General Leonard at spring training game last month at Goodyear Ballpark.

Recently Brigadier General Brook J. Leonard updated City Council on Luke AFB 56th Fighter Wing mission and activities.

The base was named after 2d Lieutenant Frank Luke Jr., a Phoenix native, Fighter Ace and the first airman to receive the Medal of Honor. He joined the Air Force during World War I. Lt. Luke was responsible for 13 confirmed kills during a 7-day combat period and 18 overall kills in Germany.

Thunderbolt Nation is comprised of four different locations – Luke AFB, Holloman AFB, Davis-Monthan AFB, Klamath Falls AFB. There are over 5,600 people as part of 56th Fighter Wing. Approximately 10,000 people come on and off the base on a daily basis. Lockheed Martin employs almost 400 civilian employees on the Base who take care of the F-35s. Between the 56th Fighter Wing and the 944th Fighter Wing (the reserve component), Luke AFB produces 66% of the World’s F-35 pilots and 97% of the F-16 pilots.

The partnerships that the Base forms with the community involves more than the West Valley. The Barry M. Goldwater Range in southern Arizona not only provides 4,300 square miles of restricted air space but 1.75 million acres of ground space for the Air Force to train.

The F-35 program at Luke AFB continues to expand! They just took possession of their 51st F-35 and plan to acquire a total of 144. They are now breaking ground on Ops 4 and Ops 5 and have plans for a total of six F-35 squadrons.

Fighter Country Partnership is a community and advocacy support group for Luke AFB that was founded in 1997. Fighter Country Partnership is a non-profit 501(4)c organization with a 501(c)3 foundation. FCP works to support the Airmen and families at Luke AFB focused on three primary areas: morale and welfare, culture and tradition and sustainability of the Luke mission. More than 300 people are part of FCP. Last year FCP provided more than $260,000 in, in-kind donations to the Airmen of Luke and hosted numerous events for the Airmen and families including a financial saving expo and appreciation dinners.

To say that Luke AFB is a regional economic driver is an understatement. The 4,200-acre base contributes an estimated $2 billion into the state economy on an annual basis and serves more than 100,000 servicemen and -women, military family members and veterans.

According to Brig. General Leonard, Luke AFB payroll is an estimated $448 million per year. The Base spends $52.7 million annually in local contracts, provides $2 million annually for education assistance and spends $276.7 million yearly on purchases. There are approximately 30,000 retirees within a 50-mile radius. Luke AFB spends $55 million a year on retiree payments. These figures should continue to increase.

In the words of our Air Force, history makes us smarter but our heritage makes us prouder. I hope this summary reflects the gratitude I have not only for Luke Air Force Base but all of our branches of military and our veterans!

Stay Connected to Your City

Spring has sprung in Surprise, signaling a time when many of our residents head to “less warm” locations to spend the summer months….

While you are away, I encourage you to stay engaged with what is happening here in Surprise. This amazing and rapidly-growing city has so many exciting things happening, that I wouldn’t want you to miss out on.

How can you stay connected?

The city’s Marketing and Communications Department offers a myriad of ways you can stay on top of what’s happening here, so when you return later this fall, you won’t have missed a thing.

A quick visit to www.surpriseaz.gov will provide you with the latest news and updates through the news section on the homepage. While online you can also browse the calendar of events, which are broken up by a public meetings calendar and an all-events calendar.

You can continue to watch City Council meetings while out of town, as all of our meetings and work sessions, as well all Surprise TV programming, are streamed live on www.surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv. A reminder, that Council does not meet in the month of July for the summer recess.

Another great way to stay connected is to sign up for the Notify Me email list. Visit www.surpriseaz.gov/notifyme, type in your email address and make the selections for what type of information you would like to have emailed to you.

There are many options to choose from including all Current News Releases, Council Agendas and I personally have my own District 2 list in which I share city and district-based news to those that sign up. After your selections are made, click the ‘Sign In’ button to begin receiving city news directly to your email account.

You can get social with the city too! Follow us on Twitter @AZSurprise. Like us on Facebook /CityofSurprise or watch our latest videos on YouTube /SurpriseTV11.

Did you know?

The Surprise Police Department offers the no-cost Vacation Watch program to residents who will be out of town for a minimum of two weeks. Through this program, our Citizen Patrol volunteers will check your home on a recurring basis looking to make sure things remain secure while you are away. You can register for this program by calling 623.222.4277.

For those residents that will be away for four months or longer, you also have the option to temporarily suspend your trash/recycling service. The service fee is $55, to cover the cost of can pickup, restocking and redelivery. The charge will appear on your next bill following the requested date of suspension. Your billing will automatically start up again after your normal service resumes. For more information on how to enroll call Public Works at 623.222.6000.

I love being part of this connected community and I know you do to, that’s why even when we leave for short periods of time, we always return home to Surprise!

Building a Safe Surprise – Begins With You

Here in the City of Surprise we have a great public safety team at work. In this article, I’d like to share the latest happenings within the Surprise Police and Fire-Medical Departments.

Police on alert for property crime:

Surprise Police report that approximately 64% of all thefts from vehicles are the result of people leaving their car doors unlocked or leaving items of value in the car where would-be-thieves can easily see them. The theory behind our “Lock it or Lose it” campaign is simple – if the thieves can see it, they will steal it.

No one wants to be a victim of crime, that’s why I am passing along the Surprise Police Department’s reminder that the majority of thefts from vehicles are preventable. Here are some safety tips to follow:

  • Always lock your car! By simply locking your car doors and taking valuables with you, you dramatically reduce the risk of being a crime victim.
  • Park in a secure and well lit location.
  • Don’t leave valuable items in plain sight. Lock them in the trunk or take them with you.
  • Park in your home garage.

Police Chief Terry Young says nearly 95% of crime in Surprise is property crime and the vast majority is from items being stolen from open garages or unlocked vehicles. Property crime is a category of crime that includes, among other crimes, burglary, larceny, theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Property crime involves the taking of property, and does not involve force or threat of force against a victim. The good news is more than 70% of property crimes are preventable! Again it comes down to closing your garage door and locking your car.

To report a crime or suspicious activity, call Surprise Police at 623.222.4000. If it is an emergency or dangerous situation, please dial 9-1-1 immediately.

Another concern is that traffic accidents are on the rise. That’s why the City recently launched a new traffic safety campaign aimed at encouraging safe driving habits. The slogan: “Drive Wise, Surprise.”

According to Chief Young, every year, traffic accidents increase by an average of 8-to-10 percent amid a growing population. This campaign is designed to create a culture of safe driving in Surprise, whether you are a resident or a visitor driving through the city.

The campaign uses play on words and bright, creative imagery to deploy safety reminders via new street signage that you will see across the city. While the campaign may sound playful, the intention behind it is more serious.

“When you are practicing good driving habits, you are helping to make the road safer for everyone,” says Chief Young. “Getting to your destination faster is not worth a serious injury; driving distracted or under the influence is not worth a life.”

This message is especially relevant as accident statistics increase and bad driving behaviors continue:

  • Surprise saw an 8 percent increase in accidents from 2014 to 2015 and a 10 percent increase in accidents from 2015 to 2016.
  • Arizona Department of Transportation reported a statewide increase of more than 6 percent from 2014 to 2015.
  • About 87 percent of drivers engage in unsafe behaviors behind the wheel, according to national research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
  • Nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in a one year period, according to a national study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

In addition to street signs, the campaign includes community and media engagement, social media messaging, ads, a public service announcement and various other marketing tools. We invite residents to help us with how we can evolve the message so it remains meaningful and impactful.

If you’d like to learn more, the Sun City Grand Neighborhood watch meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month at 4:30 pm at the Sonoran Plaza. Additionally, Surprise Police Department hosts “Coffee with a Cop” each month. Residents can also access our crime mapping system by going to www.raidsonline.com. For more information, please contact our Community Action line at 623.222.4140.

For those residents that reached out about noise pollution along Bell Road…. Chief Young has increased patrol for this particular area. In addition to increased patrol for the noise pollution, our bike patrol enforcement has also increased to help prevent residents from becoming a victim of crime and to educate our residents to “Lock It or Lose It”.

The Evolution of Surprise Fire-Medical:

Fire-Medical Chief Tom Abbott and I spent time together to discuss the transformation of the fire service over the last four decades. Since many of us transplant ourselves here from other states, we don’t fully understand how our fire departments operate differently from those across the country. It is helpful to thoroughly comprehend how the emergency system here in the valley works.

The Phoenix Fire Department is one of the largest fire departments in the country and their Regional Dispatch Center provides fire and emergency medical dispatching services for approximately 26 Valley jurisdictions directly, including Surprise, and 3 entities indirectly. This service area is over 2,000 square miles!

This regional system is known as Automatic Aid and it began in January 1981. This time-tested deployment system provides the closest most appropriate fire service resource regardless of jurisdictional boundaries.

In most communities outside of the Phoenix metropolitan area, jurisdictional lines prevent firefighters from entering neighboring towns and cities, although they may be closer to the emergency call. In the Valley, the closest, most appropriate resource is dispatched regardless of jurisdictional boundaries.

What does this mean to you? The Automatic Aid system provides Valley communities, including Surprise, with the highest level of efficiency, service and effectiveness. This system gets first-responders to you faster, reduces resources and personnel costs for each participating community. And because the Phoenix Regional Dispatch Center currently partners with the Mesa Regional Dispatch Center to dispatch most of the communities in the Valley, that eliminates the need for each of 26 participating agencies to pay for their own dispatch center.

Cost savings do not end there…ISO (Insurance Service Office) ratings determine a portion of how much you pay for homeowners and business insurance premiums. The ISO categorizes municipalities and fire districts from 10 – 1, with 1 being the best. Due to Automatic Aid, the city of Surprise currently holds a rating of 2. According to Fire Chief Abbott, in all likelihood our rating would be 4 without automatic aid.

Another benefit to the Automatic Aid System is that it puts us in a better position during large catastrophic incidents. During these large scale incidents, we rely on our partners to send resources. They also backfill our fire stations and run our calls when our firefighters are committed to other incidents and our resources are depleted. Additionally, the regional partnership provides our firefighters with the ability to utilize state-of-the-art regional training facilities that provide the most innovative training.

The protection of life and property is the mission of the Surprise Public Safety Teams!

We’ve placed police and fire stations strategically across geographic regions, commensurate with population densities and workload needs. While Automatic Aid provides us with innumerable benefits, we must continue to follow growth trends to ensure we have the proper number of fire stations and police stations/sub stations available in the right areas to continue to keep Surprise a safe and thriving community.