President Allan opened the meeting by asking Ron Thompson to offer the Invocation followed by Dan Coons leading the Pledge of Allegiance.  Ray Smith asked the women present to go to the front of the room so he could lead the men and women present in serenading each other with "Let Me Call You Sweetheart."
There were several guests present.  The guest who had travelled the longest distance was PDG Chris Runion from Harrisonburg, VA.  Chris is the immediate past governor of Rotary District 7570. He was on a business trip to AZ and stopped in to say hello.
Don Boucher won the attendance drawing.  
President Allan is continuing to try to incent members to wear their Rotary pins by paying $1 for each member wearing a pin at our weekly meetings.  Unfortunately, the number at this meeting was only nineteen - a new low.
Jeanie Morgan won the $30 pot in the weekly drawing, but the $804 accumulating pot will continue to grow since she drew the seven of hearts.  Steve Ross explained the Buck Board and circulated it while happy dollars were collected.  Dick Myren paid a happy dollar to be a member of Mesa West Rotary continuing the tradition of the club's newest Honorary Member, Rod Daniels.  Don Boucher paid happy dollars for the granddaughter they welcomed into their family last month, and for some new news.  They've just recently learned a grandson will be added to the family later this year.  Jeanie Morgan was happy she won the pot and was celebrating the last few days she would not yet be 75.  The club sang happy birthday to her with much better harmony than she's ever enjoyed hearing in the past.
Pam Cohen reminded everyone of the upcoming Steak and Beans dinner on February 24 celebrating the successful sponsorship campaign to raise funds to support our various projects.
Steve Ross announced upcoming speakers, but said Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista did not want a formal introduction.
Chief Batista was born in Los Angeles, but has spent the majority of his career in Tucson, Arizona.  Throughout his childhood, he consistently wanted to be a policeman when he grew up.  He was a police explorer as a kid.  He has just recently passed his six-month anniversary with the City of Mesa.  He did his undergraduate and masters studies at Grand Canyon University.  He took advantage of opportunities to attend leadership training throughout his career.
The Chief said that he is frequently asked how the politics differ between Tucson and Mesa.  His observation so far, is that they are more stable in Mesa.  He said the relationship between the community and the police department is also better in Mesa.  He stated that, while there are those rare individuals that are truly evil, most crime is manageable.  He told some anecdotal stories.  One was about the Amazon bandit who was caught because of a camera that photographed the car used by a thief stealing packages off a front porch.  The owner of the car had loaned it to her sister that day and the sister was apprehended.  The other was about an officer who noticed a boy on a bike with a bag flopping.  It just didn't look right, and the boy was stopped.  About the time the bag was discovered to be a woman's purse, they received a call about an elderly woman who had been assaulted and robbed a few blocks away.  Perpetrator had been spotted and stopped before the crime was reported because an officer had followed his instincts.
Chief Batista respects the department culture that existed when he came to Mesa, but will constantly be working to make it better.  He says there are cell phone and other technology issues that need to be tackled.  Today, officers are using their personal cell phones for both personal and police department business, which is potentially problematic if the actual phones were needed for evidence.
Most crimes are committed by people who have been caught doing something foolish.  He wants his officers to engage and have empathy with all individuals they come in contact with.  He does not want them to be robotic.  He wants them to treat everyone with respect.  The video which recently surfaced where the interaction was less than desirable was actually two years old.  The officer is no longer with the department, and had been gone long before the video became public.  
As the new guy, the Chief will always have challenges, but his biggest challenge is that he is married and his wife and daughter, who is a freshman in high school, are still in Tucson.  That will be remedied in a few months.  In his first six months, he has taken the time to meet with every member of the department as well as many community leaders.  When he learns of the need for adjustments to improve situations, he is already making them.  All officers are trained in mental health first aid.
Chief Batista's long-term goal is that when he retires, the next police chief should come from Mesa.  One last entertaining incident was revealed when he confessed that before his first day on the job, when he and his wife and daughter were looking over the community, he was distracted and accidentally ran a red lite.  The officer who stopped him was a little dismayed to discover who he had pulled over, but went ahead and issued the ticket, and the Chief attended traffic school rather than have the offense go on his record.