For a period of 18 days (between June 12-25, 1974), the mercury rose to a whopping 100+ degrees, with the apex hitting 116.1°F June 24. Still, the hottest day in Arizona history came two decades later – a sizzling 128°F – recorded in late June 1994

OV Town Talk: A message from Police Chief Kara Riley

I wanted to take an opportunity to address some questions and concerns I have received from the community in recent months regarding public safety, the level of services we provide, and the leadership and direction of your police department. My hope is to provide some insight so that this community we care so deeply about can continue to appreciate and support the excellent service provided by the men and women of the Oro Valley Police Department (OVPD).

As your police chief, I am proud to represent OVPD. Oro Valley continues to rank as one of the safest communities in Arizona. The men and women of OVPD patrol this community with pride and honor. Every day, I listen to them responding to calls for police services, and what I hear is humbling. From the mundane and regular, to the high-risk and often dangerous, I hear your officers striving to make a difference. It is personal when a theft occurs on their assigned beat. It is meaningful to engage with children in a park. It is rewarding and motivating to comfort victims of violence while bringing those responsible to justice. The reason we continue to be one of the safest communities is because of the hard work performed every day by the men and women of this department.

As you can imagine, when it came to policing during a pandemic, the OVPD leadership team had to think outside the box. We combined several units to alleviate exposure to the virus, which resulted in the discovery of new opportunities within the department. As a result, we strategically staffed our officers to ensure this community remained one of the safest in Arizona. The department never wavered from its commitment to serving this community with the best police services possible. As your police chief, it is my responsibility to manage the department and deployment strategies. Sometimes change is hard, but it is also necessary when faced with unprecedented circumstances.

And now, as we begin a new school year, many of you have school safety on your minds, especially in the wake the horrific tragedies that occurred in Uvalde, Texas, and across the United States. Active shooter events have become all too common in our country, and each time they happen, the grief, loss, fear, confusion, blame, and pain can be overwhelming. Nothing of substance can ever be tendered as suitable consolation for the pain these events bring to our communities.

Your police department has a proud history of placing school safety as its top priority. The School Resource Officer (SRO) program has served as a nationwide model and still stands as a rarity in our country. SROs are engaged and possess critically foundational knowledge of the environments in their schools. These officers partner with their schools to ensure proactive and predictive police efforts result in unparalleled detection, mitigation, and prevention of school threats.

OVPD functions as a cohesive team when responding to threats and emergencies within our community. Whether it be in a business, school, private home, or on our roadways, any challenge to the safety and peace of this town is met firmly and professionally by your police officers. Inaction and indifference are not characteristics you will find within our ranks.

There will always be obstacles and challenges to our mission; however, as your chief, I understand the value of staying focused and pushing forward toward our goals. My leadership team and I continuously review crime data, deployment statistics, community policing efforts and other performance metrics to help us identify and responsibly request the resources needed to maintain and enhance public safety in the community.

Through the Oro Valley Police Department’s courageous dedication and selfless service, we endeavor to prevent crime, build trust, and enhance the quality of life in our community. My hope is to leave you with a sense of trust and reassurance that your police department, in partnership with the residents we serve and protect, can achieve continued success and an even brighter future together.