Paul's Note - April 17th, 2020

They tell me that a US Marine never really retires, but they have been known to retire from other occupations.

Judge Michael Pollard served as a Marine in Vietnam and never forgot to keep serving, particularly when it came to serving his fellow veterans. Pollard took the lead in creating many of the city’s specialty courts. Our city’s specialty courts have both reduced recidivism and kept people from being incarcerated.

In 2009, Pollard started the city’s veteran’s court, which is now known as the Regional Municipalities Veterans Treatment Court. The court allows veterans who get charged in city court with all but the most serious violent or sexual offenses to go through a six-month program and have the offenses cleared from their record.

According to the Arizona Daily Star, 696 defendants went through the program between 2013 and 2018. The program’s recidivism rate was only 17%.

Pollard retired last week and I hope he is as proud of the service he gave this city and its vets as he is of his service to his country. He is the sort of quietly compassionate citizen that makes Tucson a special place. My staff and I valued his counsel when it came to issues regarding the city’s court system and we’ll miss him.

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The community is asking questions about when we can reopen. Things are starting to turn in other places, people say, so we can relax, right?

A doctor I respect posted an appropriate analogy for where we are at right now: “The curve is flattening; we can start lifting restrictions now = The parachute has slowed our rate of descent; we can now take it off”

Tucson (and Pima County) have been doing a good job of staying in and flattening the curve, which is what we needed, but now is not the time to let down our guard. In today’s Arizona Daily Star, Dr. Joe K Gerald, an associate professor with the UArizona’s Zuckerman College of Public Health was quoted as saying that the result of our combined public distancing has resulted in a surge that will be “ more like walking up a hill than ascending a sharp mountain peak.”  He continues that we are “getting close to the worst of it” and “over the next two weeks, hospitals should prepare for a continued increase in admissions until a peak around April 27th”.

At the same time, I am asking everyone to remain vigilant about social distancing and keeping our communities healthy, we are working with the county on creating metrics on how and when to ease back into opening up again.