DEBORA BLACK – Chief of Police, City of Prescott
As a girl growing up in Lombard, Illinois, I never could have imagined that someday I would be the police chief in “everybody’s hometown,” Prescott. My interest in police work did not become apparent until I began college as a sociology major and took elective courses in criminal justice. Then, I was hooked, and immediately switched majors. With an associate degree in hand, I applied to over a dozen agencies in the Chicago area and quickly discovered I was not a candidate they were interested in hiring. My family had relocated to Phoenix, so I headed West, and received a much warmer reception with the Phoenix Police Department. I was hired, completed basic academy training and began my career as a Phoenix police officer. As a rookie working nights and weekends, I had the opportunity to continue my education at Arizona State University, ultimately earning a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice and a Master of Public Administration. In 1991, I had my beautiful daughter, Mallory. I continued to work full- time, accepted challenging assignments and competed for promotion, ultimately rising to the rank of assistant police chief.
When I left the Phoenix Police Department in 2006, I intended to leave law enforcement forever. I was a stay-at-home mom to my teen daughter and started my own consulting company, Black Ink, LLC. My plans took a turn when I was recruited for an assistant chief position with the Glendale Police Department. This proved to be instrumental to my career. When the police chief returned to his hometown of Louisville in 2012, I was appointed interim police chief. At that time, Glendale Police Department faced many challenges, including budget shortfalls, personnel management issues, increased violent crime as well as hosting high profile sporting events and entertainment at the University of Phoenix Stadium. This was a period of tremendous growth for me as a leader, ultimately leading to my appointment as police chief in 2013.
My husband and I chose Prescott as the community where we would retire. We bought a home in 2012 and spent as much time here as my schedule allowed. When the former police chief announced he would be leaving the Prescott Police Department in 2016, I was immediately interested. It was important that I understood the needs of the community and the department to ensure my experience and leadership style would be a good fit. The rest, as they say, is history. I was appointed Prescott Police Chief in July 2016. I became the first woman in history to hold the position.
My first year living and working in this wonderful community has been amazing. I believe everything I’ve experienced in my life and career has been in preparation for this time and place. Leading and serving alongside the men and women of the Prescott Police Department has been the greatest honor of my career. We are committed to the safety of everyone who lives, works or visits Prescott. We perform our work with integrity, compassion and respect for all. Public support for police officers is demonstrated by members of the community on a continuous basis. Every day, in all that we do, we strive to earn and maintain your trust and confidence to keep Prescott safe and enjoyable as “everybody’s hometown.”