by Ray Newton
Named by the Arizona Capitol Times as Arizona Public Safety Leader of the Year, Prescott Chief of Police Debora Black was praised for her “long legacy of dedicated and innovative service within the public safety industry.”
The award was presented in virtual ceremonies Sept. 30.
Black was named chief of police in Prescott in July 2016. Prior to that, she had been Glendale Chief of Police; and before that, an officer with the Phoenix Police Department for 25 years.
Black commented upon receiving the award, “I am coming up on 40 years in law enforcement this November, so to be recognized at this point in my career is very special.”
She also said, “It was a complete surprise. I had no idea I had been nominated. I don’t believe this is based on anything I have done individually, but rather a recognition of the work we have been doing collaboratively in the community to respond to individuals experiencing mental health and substance use disorders.
Black is the first woman to serve as a chief of police in Prescott.
Her professional achievements and activities over the years have been many. Among them:
- Executive Fellow for the Police Foundation.
- Vice President for the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police.
- Member, Yavapai Justice and Mental Health Coalition.
- Advisory Board Member, Coalition for Compassion and Justice.
- Member, Council on Criminal Justice.
- Member, National Institute on Drug Abuse Practitioner Board.
Black also is involved in Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters and in Prescott Women Who Care.
When he learned of the award, Prescott Mayor Greg Mengarelli said, “Congratulations to Chief Black. We have been privileged to witness her exemplary leadership in her role as our chief of police for the past several years.”
Black was among other outstanding citizens from throughout Arizona recognized by the Arizona Capitol Times in 14 categories that ranged from Arts and Culture to Transportation.