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Police Chief Talks Leadership with JROTC Cadets

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by: Michelle Chance of

Steve Stahl, chief of the Maricopa Police Department, never dreamed of becoming a police officer, let alone the leader of an entire jurisdiction.

While attending college, Stahl originally pursued a career in education.

“I wanted to be a school teacher,” he told a group of Air Force Junior ROTC cadets at Maricopa High School Monday morning.

But plans changed. Eventually, Stahl graduated from police academy and held several positions at the Mesa Police Department before taking his first chief of police position in Maricopa.

“Never chase the money. The money is not going to make you happy. Chase your passion,” Stahl said.

The police chief, dressed in uniform, lectured inside the school auditorium and outlined the personal attributes successful leaders share.

One of the most important traits is honesty, he said.

“If you lie, you lose the core, fundamental element of being part of something bigger than yourself,” Stahl said.

Students listened as the police chief encouraged them to bond with their community and break away from their comfort zones. Stahl asked students how many of them knew there was a mosque located in Maricopa. No hands raised.

“You have to be willing to talk to people who are different from you because they have a lot to offer and you have a lot to offer them,” he said.

Although Stahl decided against a career as a teacher years ago, MHS students said he taught them a lot about their potential.

“Everyone, individually, could be a great leader as long as they try,” said AFJROTC Cadet Nathan Dickinson.

Stahl’s speech is part of a lecture series held at MHS for AFJROTC students.

44150 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy | Maricopa, AZ 85138 | (520) 568-5100

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