Good news from our police chief:
Dear Mayor, Council Members, and City Manager:
A couple of months ago we were contacted by Amelia Cramer from the Pima County Attorneys Office regarding a grant the County Attorney’s Office wanted to apply for, but then learned their office would not be eligible to receive. This grant was through the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, Improving Criminal Justice Response Program. At stake was a $750,000 grant that could bring resources to our community to improve our response to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, especially Spanish speaking victims.
Several aspects of the grant writing process were already completed by Jennifer Tersigni and her staff at “Raise the Bar” consulting firm (grant writers) who had been contracted by the Pima County Attorneys Office and who were members of the Pima County Domestic Violence Coalition. The challenge was that we were already in the “11th hour” and that the deadline to submit the grant was rapidly approaching.
When the Tucson Police Department was made aware of this grant opportunity, despite the tight time-line to get the grant submitted, we didn’t hesitate to submit a proposal. This grant would give us the opportunity to hire two additional Spanish-speaking detectives whose salary would be paid for over the next three years. It would also provide funding to train 10 sexual assault nurse examiners specifically around strangulation protocols. The grant would make it possible to develop and distribute Spanish language victim services materials to local law enforcement and crisis intervention organizations. It would give us the resources to translate the Arizona Lethality Assessment Protocol form (APRAIS) into Spanish and train Tucson Police Officers in its use.
I am pleased to announce that last week we were notified by the Department of Justice that we are the recipient of this three year grant in the amount of $747,144.
This grant would have never happened if it wasn’t for the great collaboration we’ve had with the members and agencies that represent the Pima County DV Coalition. These members of this coalition include CODAC/Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault (SACASA), Tucson Medical Center, Pima County Attorneys Office, Pima County Sherriff’s Department, EMERGE Center Against Domestic Violence, Raise the Bar, Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Step up to Justice, Southern Arizona Aids Foundation, and members from the Tucson Police Dept. In particular, I want to recognize the extraordinary work on this project by Assistant Chief Carla Johnson.
If you have the opportunity, please thank these organizations and their leadership for making a difference in our community and assisting law enforcement in combating domestic violence and sexual assault. Those of in policing learned a long ago that we can’t fight this kind of battle alone. The resources these organizations provide after (and even before) arrests make a huge difference in reducing recidivism. They give the victims of these crimes hope and the tools necessary to remove themselves from abusive relationships.
We had a press conference this afternoon attended by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Strange, Pima County Chief Deputy County Attorney Amelia Cramer, CODAC CEO Dennis Reginier, and a number of others to announce the good news. Hopefully you will see the coverage on this by our local media.
Chief Chris Magnus