COOLIDGE — The city of Coolidge has selected a new chief to head up the Coolidge Police Department.

Harry Grizzle was promoted to chief of police on Jan. 9 following the retirement of his predecessor, Jim Malinski.

Grizzle was hired as field services commander for CPD in 2016. Prior to his employment in Coolidge, Grizzle worked for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, where he began as a detention officer at the Pinal County Adult Detention Center. He went on to become a deputy and eventually retired from the Sheriff’s Office in 2016 as deputy chief.

His background in law enforcement has included everything from serving as an FBI-trained hostage negotiator on the multi-agency SWAT team to serving as interim chief of police for the towns of Kearny, Mammoth, Hayden and Winkelman.

In addition, Grizzle is a graduate of the FBI Academy and a recipient of the Medal of Valor and the Meritorious Service Award.

Now he oversees the entire department, which includes everything from budgeting and staffing to ensuring that officers have access to all the resources they need.

The transition, he noted, was a fairly seamless process.

“I was fortunate to inherit a good department,” Grizzle said. “We have a lot of good employees here. In fact, they’re all really good.”

One of Grizzle’s goals will be to bring greater awareness to the impacts the use of illicit drugs, like fentanyl, can have on youths and teens. The problem is one that many communities around the country face, he said.

Under his leadership, Grizzle indicated that the department will put more focus on drug arrests. In addition, the department will likely employ more partnerships with the Pinal County Narcotics Task Force and the Arizona Department of Public Safety's Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission.

CPD will also continue to make a school resource officer available for schools in Coolidge.

“The number one thing for me is to enforce the drug laws the best we can, the most we can and keep kids off (drugs) the best way we possibly can,” Grizzle said.

The mission, however, is not one CPD can accomplish alone. Parents also play a critical role in curbing drug use and the exposure to drugs among teens.

Grizzle urged parents to become more drug aware and to take an active role in talking with their children about the subject and ensuring they are not taking prohibited items to school.

But even with the increased attention on drug arrests, the primary focus for CPD will continue to be providing the best law enforcement service to the public within the resources the department has, he noted.

“People call us when they have a problem (and) we are there to solve problems or at least be a part of the solution,” Grizzle said. “When (our officers) got hired to serve as a police officer, they took an oath to serve the Constitution, and that’s bottom line what they have to do.”