While some have erroneously predicted the end of the world today, the fact that you are reading this indicates they were off on those calculations. Little did we know, what the Mayans were really predicting was the end of an era at the Santa Cruz Police Department. Today, December 21, 2012, we say a heartfelt and fond farewell to Zach Friend and wish him well as he takes the next step in his career of public service as a County Supervisor.
Many of you know and recognize Zach in his role as Press Information Officer (PIO). That was just one small part of what he has brought to the department. Zach took on this role when he saw an opportunity to improve how we deliver information to the public; ultimately making the organization more transparent to the community and the information more relevant.
Zach’s primary role has been that of a Principle Management Analyst. In that role he has secured millions of dollars in grant funding for the city to pay for police officers, equipment, and enforcement programs. During the severe budget crisis in 2009, the department was actually at risk of laying-off officers. Zach worked tirelessly to secure a grant of 1.9 million to save those positions and avoid layoffs. He has also brought other ideas forward that have strengthened our delivery of service and achieved efficiencies in the overall organization.
Among his many other accomplishments was development of the iPhone and Droid Apps which won the Helen Putnam Award from the California League of Cities. He worked with a team of professors to develop Predictive Policing and put Santa Cruz on the map as the first department in the world to launch the program. This innovative program is now being used across the country and internationally.
Zach (Code name: “Blue Steel”) has been a game changer in every sense. The effects of his work and his influence on this department will transcend his time with us. The County (especially the 2nd District) is lucky to have such a dedicated and talented servant.
Zach, you will be greatly missed, but forever a part of our family.